Provinces Must Make Sure Your Karate Kid Does Not Become a Criminal Under Bill S-209


I previously discussed that the Federal Government’s attempt to legalize MMA Bouts will create a gap on the Provincial side potentially criminalizing amateur contests (Read about it HERE).  I am pleased to report that after bringing this issue to the BC Government’s attention, BC’s Minister of Sport has responded advising the BC Government is aware of this and that a “change of policy” will be needed should Bill S-209 pass.

Other Provinces need to follow suit.

Here is Minister Chong’s response:

Dear Mr. Magraken:

 Thank you for your email of May 14, 2012, regarding the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50).

 As you correctly mention in your email, the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50) provides only for the supervision and regulation of professional exhibitions and contests. Amateur sports are not currently regulated in British Columbia. The Province of British Columbia is aware of the proposed change in Bill S-209 to the definition of amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) contests that would require the designation of an athletic organization to sanction amateur MMA. In British Columbia, amateur sporting events are presently governed by a sport specific non-government body, such as Soccer BC. However, unlike in Ontario, British Columbia does not currently provide for a system of amateur sport regulation through designated sports bodies.

 Our understanding of what would be required if the bill is passed in its exact current form is that all provinces would have to designate a regulating body for amateur MMA. British Columbia and some other provinces have not previously regulated amateur sport, so this would be a change in policy.

 It is important to keep in mind, however, that Bill S-209 is a private member’s bill, currently being considered in the Senate. It is our understanding that if passed by the Senate, the Bill would still need to be adopted as a government bill.  Once the Bill is developed as a government bill there will be further opportunities for the Province to provide input into the policy development process for a government bill.

 The Province has also provided direct input into the recent Senate Hearings on Bill S-209 and will continue to work with federal counterparts in the development of any amendments to Section 83 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

 Thank you for your interest and for raising your concerns.



 Ida Chong, FCGA

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development


Erik Magraken is a personal injury litigator and Partner with the British Columbia law-firm MacIsaac & Company. You can follow his BC Injury Law Blog here:

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