Independent complaint management is a core tenant of Safe Sport for Equestrian Canada (EC). Brian Ward from W&W Dispute Resolution Services Inc. acts as Complaint Manager to provide the equestrian community with expert and objective third-party facilitation of complaints. In a new EC Insider series, “Behind the Equestrian Canada Complaint Process”, he answers your questions around the process and the policies that support it.

This month, Brian answers the question:

What are the confidentiality measures and limitations in the EC complaint process?

Confidentiality is an important consideration in the complaint process for all involved. The measures that are part of the EC complaint process provide a framework to address confidentiality.

Information about a complaint is provided, on a confidential basis, only to the few individuals who have a need to know in order for the complaint to be properly actioned.

A concerned individual would first share the nature of their complaint with myself, the independent, third party Complaint Manager, through the complaint submission process. Following discussion and with the individual’s consent to proceed with a complaint, those who are named in the complaint are provided with a copy of the complaint and allegation(s), typically also including the identity of the complainant(s). Should the situation require investigation, the information is shared with an independent investigator.

To decide on the complaint and any applicable discipline/sanctions, the information is shared with the Hearing Panel, which is made up of independent individual(s) I appoint from outside EC. All individuals receiving the information are required to keep the information confidential as set out in the EC Discipline, Complaints and Appeals Policy and are reminded of their obligation. The only time when information shared confidentially can be disclosed to others outside of the complaint process is in very limited situations prescribed by law, for example, in situations of alleged child abuse.

The identity and name of the individual making a complaint is never shared with staff or representatives of EC without the consent of the individual. The name of the person against whom a complaint is made is generally not shared with EC during the complaint process; however, it may be necessary to seek information about an individual from EC during the course of the complaint process (such as, are they a registered participant with EC). An staff person at EC is designated to provide this information and they are not provided with details surrounding the request.

Once the complaint process is complete, any findings requiring discipline/sanctions are published on the EC website (unless the Hearing Panel determines otherwise). This publication will not include the name of the person who made the complaint or the specific details of the complaint without their consent.

The nature of the complaint is also shared with EC and Sport Canada as part of a national reporting system. The complaint is categorized as abuse, harassment or discrimination as per the requirement but no other identifying information is provided.

In summary, the identity of the person making a complaint is never shared with anyone outside of those directly involved in the complaint process (e.g. myself, the Hearing Panel, the person against whom the complaint is made and an investigator/law enforcement if necessary) without the individual’s consent.

In my next article, I will discuss plans for further education and promotion about my role as the Complaint Manager. As always, please feel free to write me with your questions and suggestions for future articles at


Brian Ward
EC Complaint Manager
W&W Dispute Resolution Services Inc.

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