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.

It has been my pleasure to support EC in advancing Safe Sport principles by serving as the independent, third-party complaint manager for the past two years.

My role is to:

  • Inform and educate EC participants on their rights and responsibilities as set out in Safe Sport-related policies;
  • Help sport participants understand their role(s) within the concept of Safe Sport;
  • Offer mediation or resolution facilitation to assist parties informally resolve disputes, complaints or appeals when they arise;
  • Explain and administer the complaint and appeal processes;
  • Interact with the Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) on their complaint matters; and,
  • Liaise with US Equestrian (USEF) on Safe Sport issues arising in the United States that may impact EC participants.

Having an independent third party is a key requirement of Sport Canada for federally funded sporting organizations so that concerns can be addressed at arm’s length in response to potential perceptions of bias. In my role with EC, independence is promoted: I am not an employee of EC and had no previous involvement with EC before taking on the role of Complaint Manager.

I am empowered to:

  • Determine if a complaint or appeal is to be accepted (i.e. is it within the jurisdiction of EC as per applicable policies);
  • Determine if an independent investigation should be conducted and appoint the investigator;
  • Appoint individuals to complaint or appeal panels when required; and,
  • Provide updates to Sport Canada on matters related to maltreatment.

Over the next several months, I look forward to publishing additional articles expanding on my role, complaints, appeals and more. Please feel free to email me at should you have topics you would like to be addressed.

Coming up next month, I’ll review confidentiality and how it is protected in the complaint process.


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