The Ontario Government has announced that multiple regions within the province will be moving into the final stage of Ontario’s Phase 2: Restart plan on July 17th. Similar to Stage 1 and 2, the provincial government will be evaluating Ontario’s progress for 2-4 weeks to see if any adjustments need to be made to ensure safety throughout the province.
This announcement is an exciting step towards some “normalcy” of everyday life. However, while this update allows more freedom for the general public, it also can pose lots of questions. So what do you need to know as a coach heading into Stage 3?
NOTE: Durham Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara Region, Windsor-Essex County (excluding Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville), Windsor-Essex County (Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville only), and York Region have NOT been approved to move into Stage 3.
(UPDATED: July 29th) – As of July 31st at 12:01am, Toronto and Peel Region will transition to Stage 3.
Access your sport’s return to play guidelines and protocols
Due to the fact that every region in Ontario has not experienced the same impact of COVID-19, not all regions are transitioning into stages at the same time.
As you are compiling your information to return-to-play, ensure that your region within the province has been cleared for a Stage 3 start.
Stage 3 begins July 17th, 2020 for approved regions.
Resources & Links
Status of each region (Ontario Government)
Outdoor sports can resume as long as participants are maintaining physical distancing guidelines. Outdoor sports can still only participate in training – no scrimmages or games.
A Framework for Reopening our Province (Ontario Government)
Team sports may only be practised or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.
Organized team sports that are practised or played by players in a league may only be practised or played within the facility if the league either:
Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gymnasiums, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities, may open if they comply with the following conditions:
i. 50 persons, if any of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are indoors, or
ii. 100 persons, if all of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are outdoors.
i. 50 spectators, if the spectators will be indoors, or
ii. 100 spectators, if the spectators will be outdoors.
i. contains no more than 50 players and does not permit its teams to play against teams outside of the league, or
ii. divides its teams into groups of 50 or fewer players and does not permit teams in different groups to play against one another or against teams outside of the league.
(2) Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities may open to provide space for a day camp for children that is in compliance with subsection 9 (1).
What does this mean for shared indoor spaces in these facilities?
The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that:
(a) any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition; and
(1.b) any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of members of the public must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
(2) For greater certainty, clause (1) (b) applies to computers, electronics and other machines or devices that members of the public are permitted to operate.
Facilities Maintenence (Workplace Safety & Prevention Services)
Outdoor Recreation (Workplace Safety & Prevention Services)
Ensure your club or organization has all participants sign a COVID-19 waiver confirming they understand the risks of returning to sport in a pandemic environment, have not been exposed to COVID-19 (or if so, 14 days have passed), are not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, and their agreement to follow the provincial sport organization’s plan.
For more information on risk management and details on waivers in the sport environment click HERE.
Participant Agreement SAMPLE (ViaSport BC)
Daily Health Questionnaire SAMPLE (Ontario Volleyball)
Session Participation & Health Screening Tracking SAMPLE (Ontario Volleyball)
Updating Your Waivers & Forms (Sport Law & Strategy Group)
According to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act:
In-person teaching and instruction:
5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the person responsible for a business or place that is open and that provides in-person teaching or instruction shall ensure that every instructional space complies with the following conditions:
1. The instructional space must be operated to enable students to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the instructional space, except where necessary for teaching and instruction that cannot be effectively provided if physical distancing is maintained (spotting, etc.).
If you need to enter within that 2-mentre distance to assist your athlete, ensure that you have a mask and (if possible) gloves to maximize safety for all involved
Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act: Rules for areas in Stage 3
Each Provincial/National Sport Organization throughout Canada has different return-to-play guidelines designed solely for their individual sports(s). Visit the sector-specific return to play guidelines to see what provisions affect your sport.
Don’t see your sport listed? Contact your PSO for more information.
Not sure how to reach your PSO? Visit our Contact Your Sport page.
Sector-specific safe return to play guidelines and protocols (Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries)
Any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.
Activities must not be practised or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.
Now that Stage 3 allows the public to resume more “normal” daily activities, this does increase the risk of spreading or caching COVID-19. Even by taking all the precautions you can, it’s important to know what steps to take if someone on your team was to test positive for COVID-19. Be sure to include this in your updated Emergency Action Plan and share this information with all participants, staff and spectators involved at practices/training.
COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment (Ontario Government)
Find a COVID-19 Test Centre (Ontario Government)
How to self-isolate (Public Health Ontario)
Access your online COVID-19 Test Results (Ontario Government) – not ALL tests will be able to be accessed online. If you cannot access your test result online, please contact the clinician who ordered your test or your primary care provider.
It’s important that your athletes are prepared for what this new version of “training” will look like. A part of keeping everyone safe will be to provide athletes and coaching staff with reliable and easy-to-understand information regarding COVID-19 safety and returning to play.
These resources include proper hand-washing, physical distancing, how to wear a mask, and other tools that they can do on their own, prior to gathering with a group. It is vital that your team alerts you or the COVID-19 team lead if they start to feel unwell. As the coach, you may be responsible for turning athletes away if their health questionnaire displays that they could be a risk to others.
Inform athletes and staff of updated emergency procedures related to COVID-19. This includes the closest assessment centre to their training field/facility. Inform them that their attendance record contact information will be used if someone were to become ill.
Knowledge is power, giving some to your athletes alleviates work on yourself and staff if everyone stays updated and informed.
Symptoms of COVID-19 (Ontario Government)
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How to self-monitor (Public Health Ontario)
How to Wash Your Hands/Use Hand Sanitizer (Public Health Ontario)
As Provincial organizations are releasing their return-to-play guidelines, you as the coach will be the main contact between your club and your athletes on safety protocols and measures.
Now that we can gather in larger groups does not mean we ease up on safety and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Some key documents you should have on you at practices going forward:
Emergency Action Plan eModule (Available in your NCCP Locker account, under the eLearning tab)
COVID-19 Assessment Centre Map for printable version click HERE
There’s no easy way to turn away an athlete or staff member away from a practice – for any reason. However, the risk and potential consequences of not properly doing so if an athlete or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19 could be exponential. It is better to be over-cautious and find there is nothing wrong, then to have some accidently spread the virus.
One way to make these conversations easier:
It is important to note that these guidelines are to be used as a guide only. Nothing in this document is intended to provide legal advice. Do not rely on this document or treat it as legal advice.
Free & discounted training, funding, and resources
If you have been keeping up with the news, you’ve probably seen some developments from the provincial government on loosening some COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario. As of June 12th, 2020, Ontario will be taking a regional approach to Stage 2 re-opening.
In this latest stage announcement from the Provincial Government groups up to ten (10) are now allowed, outdoor team sports may resume, if physically distancing, for training only and with no scrimmages or games, and aquatic facilities have been allowed to re-open, all in select regions of the province. These provisions need to be taken into account with what your Provincial Sport Organization and/or National Sport Organization has developed in accordance with your facility and municipal guidelines. With 67 recognized sports in Ontario and Canada, each sport has unique issues which need to be factored into their own return to sport plan as well as fit Provincial health and safety guidelines.
So, as a coach, you may be wondering what does all of this mean? What can/should I be doing at this time?
If you are interested in asking a question about your return to coaching feel free to submit your question in the form below. CAO will work to answer your question in the next edition of our Getting Ready to Return Coaching.
Sports offer a variety of opportunities to develop our physical abilities, improve our mental well-being and to connect with our communities. Whether you participate or facilitate in grassroots, recreational or high-performance sport, having a strong bond with teammates and staff is a feeling like no other.
But why is team cohesion important? Well, for starters, many of the most successful sports teams in history worked as well-oiled machines – take the 90s Bulls for example. Team building is more than everyone “getting along”, it’s understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and making a choice to support each other regardless. Not only can this improve the results on the playing field – but it can build long-lasting friendships and relationships.
Ask your athletes what they value in team cohesion. It’s important to understand as coaches that each of your athletes may have different perspectives on what team cohesion looks like. While using virtual video platforms such as, start by asking questions such as “what does team cohesions mean/look like to you?”
After your athletes/coaching staff have shared their ideas, let them know what your idea of team cohesion is. This displays an open dialogue from all members of the team and helps to set the standard that all ideas are valid and welcomed.
Start goal setting for the upcoming season. Have your athletes write down one personal goal and one team goal. This will not only give you a sense of how competitive the team goal is for the season but, it will also show what your athlete’s goals are. If many of them are technical skill-based, that can help when you begin your practice planning.
Put together a player code of conduct with your team. Allowing players and coaching staff to have input shows that their opinions are valued. When players truly believe and are a part of the player code of conduct, it creates a sense of ownership that will help them to hold themselves and their teammates accountable.
Incorporate some fun activities into your teams’ virtual meetings:
When sports eventually do come in to play, a great way to have your athletes bond is through activities. James Leath – the founder of Unleash the Athlete, is a mental performance coach who puts a lot of focus on team chemistry. Here are some exercises from James’ “Interrupt” Wake up the Athlete and Set the Mood to try when sports resume:
The cancellation of playoffs, meets, tournaments and even whole seasons during these times have been a huge source of disappointment to coaches, athletes and parents.
Even as some businesses across Ontario start to reopen, it appears that it will still be some time before we’ll be back together in groups, which is almost always necessary for sports.
Below we’ve put together some talking points to help you and your athletes get through this season’s setbacks and start preparing for the next one.
Sports gives us the foundation to adapt and stay resilient during difficult times. By reminding your athletes that they already possess the tools necessary to cope with these setbacks, you will help them to adjust to the current situation more quickly, and continue to develop into even better athletes and people.
View all currently scheduled Online PDCourses
The new “normal” of virtual coaching and online training sessions is something that may be new to a lot of coaches, athletes and parents during these times. These virtual meetings allows teams and athletes to continue to train and stay connected, which is great for maintaining positive mental and physical health. While it is something that may be new to many, there are some risks that could accompany the rise in these virtual environments.
We’ve put together these resources and guidelines so that sport organizations, coaches, parents/guardians and athletes can enjoy all the benefits and reduce the risk.
Access training, screening, policies and reporting resources
We all know how important sport is to our athletes, our communities and society. It is equally important that we all play a role in ensuring that sport continues to stay safe both on and off the field of play.
Video calling, group messaging, online training etc., allow us to stay more connected than ever before. These tips for online safety will helps us all reduce risks associated with online communication, and instead enjoy the benefits of these virtual environments, so that we can all get through this difficult time together.
Open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week, this national toll-free confidential helpline for harassment, abuse and discrimination provides a safe place for victims and witnesses to report their concerns.
Call or text 1-888-83-SPORT (77678)
Contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canadian Sport Helpline exists to provide advice, guidance, and resources on how to proceed/intervene appropriately in the circumstances.
As a resource you can provide your athletes and participants, Kids Help Phone operates Canada’s only 24/7, professional counselling, referral and information service for young people.
Text CONNECT to 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868
Live Chat online or through the app at kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat
Young athletes can chat confidentially with a trained, volunteer Crisis Responder for support with any issue – big or small.
This rule serves to protect minor athletes in potentially vulnerable situations by ensuring that more than one adult is present at all times. Download the Rule of Two guidelines to understand how you can support the Rule of Two in your organization.
Rule of Two
If you have received advice from legal counsel or your insurance providers, the advice of your lawyers or insurance providers supersedes the information contained in this article.
References: USA Centre for Safe Sport, Coaching Association of Canada
We’re sure that many of you have been receiving questions from parents about what they can be doing at home to help their young athletes continue to stay motivated and working on skill development during this time.
To help, we have put together 5 practical and easy to implement coaching tips below that will help parents keep their kids active and inspired while your season is on a break.
Check out our article below with tips and tricks to support your athletes during this time.
The CAO continues to provide remote NCCP learning opportunities at this time. To find out more about available classes, please click HERE.
Need more support? Let us know! Fill out our Support Through COVID-19 form to let us know how we can help. You can find that HERE.
If you would like to reach out to CAO directly, you can contact email@example.com.
Remote NCCP learning opportunities
As hard as it is to believe, Ontario has just entered it’s the third week under the State of Emergency, with top doctors in the province suggesting this could last until summer.
For many of you reading this, you are coaches and/or administrators who rely on a consistent routine for practices and training. With schools and gyms closed, and sports organizations making the right call to suspend in-person events, many of you are left without your hobbies, passions and livelihood. Regardless of what is happening in your life right now, know that the CAO is here for you.
So, we’ve done some research and put together some key tips and tricks to help you manage your physical and emotional well-being during this difficult time.
‘Anxiety is a normal response to the current situation, says Tina Montreuil, assistant professor in the department of educational and counselling psychology at McGill University. And some of us may have a harder time coping than others, she says, since our usual freedoms and a lot of the control we typically have are restricted as schools, gyms, bars and workplaces close.’ – The Globe and Mail
For more information on managing anxiety during COVID-19, click HERE.
With these unprecedented times, it can be easy to feel down and feel isolated and alone. Even under normal circumstances, coaches are known for putting other’s needs ahead of their own! By nature, most coaches prioritize looking after those around them, so during a time of extreme stress, like right now, it’s even more important that they carve out time to care for themselves.
Talk to loved ones. Talk to friends. Talk to mental health professionals. There is ample mental health support available online and over the phone to help you during this time. Here are some available resources:
Free apps/platforms to communicate with friends and family:
The Coaches Association of Ontario advises that you utilize caution when downloading or installing any app or program on your device. The CAO is not responsible for any and all costs, claims, expenses, demands, actions, causes of action, and any liability for damages to property howsoever caused arising out of or in any way related to third-party software.
Have you checked out our resource page lately? It’s been updated with new articles and information. While you focus on your physical health, don’t forget to take care of your #MentalHealth, too. #coronavius #covid19 https://t.co/4edeO5v9qg— CMHA National (@CMHA_NTL) April 3, 2020
Have you checked out our resource page lately? It’s been updated with new articles and information. While you focus on your physical health, don’t forget to take care of your #MentalHealth, too. #coronavius #covid19 https://t.co/4edeO5v9qg
While going to practice and a gym is no longer an option, it is vital to maintain some sort of physical exercise at this time. Not only is it important for your physical health, but releasing endorphins (the happy hormones) can assist with staying mentally and physically fit. When you can, take a walk – either solo or with those in your immediate household, and change up your scenery, while still being mindful of keeping a distance from others.
For more information on free home workouts during COVID-19, click HERE.
A list of online classes and live streams dedicated to helping you keep active no matter the circumstances right now:@barrebelleinc @YYOGA @MISFITSTUDIO @PlanetFitness @fitnessbysaraht @DoYogaWithMe @downdogapp @wellandtight @FitnessBlender @PayChen https://t.co/s3rRSro3Ga— CBC Life (@cbc_life) March 17, 2020
A list of online classes and live streams dedicated to helping you keep active no matter the circumstances right now:@barrebelleinc @YYOGA @MISFITSTUDIO @PlanetFitness @fitnessbysaraht @DoYogaWithMe @downdogapp @wellandtight @FitnessBlender @PayChen https://t.co/s3rRSro3Ga
For those administrators or coaches with a business, you can visit The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to see what funding and support are available for your specific needs.
For those who lost their income due to COVID-19, you can visit Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan page to see what funding and support are available for your specific needs.
For reliable and accurate updates on the outbreak, please visit the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update
Check out your provincial public health authorities COVID-19 info: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
For more information on COVID-19: Awareness Resources, click HERE.
Check out our newest article with tips and tricks to support your athletes during this time.
If you are already receiving EI Regular or EI Sickness benefits, you don’t need to apply or re-apply to receive the Canada Emergency Benefit. https://t.co/h4cq3mDg5Z pic.twitter.com/p4kHredXVg— Employment and Social Development Canada (@ESDC_GC) April 2, 2020
If you are already receiving EI Regular or EI Sickness benefits, you don’t need to apply or re-apply to receive the Canada Emergency Benefit. https://t.co/h4cq3mDg5Z pic.twitter.com/p4kHredXVg
Everyone in the sports community is feeling the impact of COVID-19, and as a coach, you’ve likely spent the last few weeks figuring out how you can best help your athletes stay positive and motivated.
While we all understand that practicing social distancing is essential in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, it has certainly been tough on athletes who were looking forward to finishing up or starting their seasons.
Although social distancing from one another is vital to flattening the curve, that doesn’t mean we can’t reach out to our colleagues and athletes to check in on how they are coping at this time.
So, if you’re a coach or an administrator looking for ways on how to support athletes on your team, or in your organization, this article’s for you.
We would also like to note that while this article contains information regarding how to assist your athletes in this time that ultimately, you know your athletes best. What is provided here are researched ideas that may or may not be entirely relevant for your age grade, gender, or class of athlete.
Just because we have to keep social distancing, doesn’t mean we need to be limited in our communication with our coaching staff and athletes. There are many free, digital platforms and apps that allow people to stay connected. Check out our list of available virtual communications:
It’s also important to acknowledge that The Rule of Two – which may not seem as relevant right now as during physical interactions, is still an important practice. Remember to copy other members of your coaching on emails and direct messages with your athletes, and always ensure there is at least one trained coach and one screened adult on any of the voice or video call platforms that we have included in this article.
We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of #COVID19: #StayHome and practice #PhysicalDistancing if you must go out.During this challenging time, it's also important to connect with friends & family — call, video chat, or play an online game: https://t.co/uyIBSxOOm2— Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (@Sunnybrook) April 1, 2020
We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of #COVID19: #StayHome and practice #PhysicalDistancing if you must go out.During this challenging time, it's also important to connect with friends & family — call, video chat, or play an online game: https://t.co/uyIBSxOOm2
While this period leaves lots of uncertainty for adults, children are also feeling the impact of not seeing friends, playing sports and going on playdates. Some valuable information from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health informs us that ‘Young people may also sense the anxiety of their parents, and worry about their own health and that of other family members.’
Provide recipes, workouts and training that athletes can do at home. Provide resources to have them review and look over. Set up group calls during the would-be practice dates and times to maintain a social connection within the team and let them know you are there for them. And don’t be afraid to ask what they need at this time.
As a first step, you may consider to:
While contacting your athletes is important – don’t forget about their parents. Parents have played a vital role in youth sports in getting kids to practice, tournaments and being their biggest supporters. They are seeing first hand the effects of this pandemic and what it is doing to their children. They can potentially help provide info on what the kids may need from you. If you are a coach that has parent meetings from time-to-time, see what the interest is in hosting one virtually.
For more information about speaking with youth on COVID-19, click HERE.
There’s a lot of “fake news” out there. Let them know about
credible resources on the virus:
For more information on COVID-19: Awareness Resources, click HERE.
It's important to be informed about the latest news around #COVID19, but sometimes too much information can do more harm than good. Here's a few tips on managing your information. Stay safe and resilient! #MentalHealthIsHealth pic.twitter.com/W3uAS4Zecq— CAMH (@CAMHnews) April 2, 2020
It's important to be informed about the latest news around #COVID19, but sometimes too much information can do more harm than good. Here's a few tips on managing your information. Stay safe and resilient! #MentalHealthIsHealth pic.twitter.com/W3uAS4Zecq
Check out our newest article with tips and tricks on supporting yourself during this time.
Need more support? Let us know! Fill out our Support Through COVID-19 form to let us know how we can help. You can find that HERE.