Saskatchewan Plays the Trump Card over Municipal MMA Regulation in Weyburn
Earlier this month I discussed the combat sports athletic commission rumored to be coming to Weyburn, Sakatchewan concluding that if Cities in Saskatchewan have the authority to regulate MMA under the Cities Act and there is “no interference from the Provincial legislature” then the path may be clear for municipal commissions.
I have just been informed that the Province will in fact interfere with this development making it clear that in their view the Cities Act will not give Weyburn the authority to regulate MMA. Melanie Baumann, Senior Policy Analyst for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport has set out the Province’s position as follows:
Regarding the messaging about the Weyburn event, bylaw and interest in bringing in the Central Commission from Alberta….
Our legal advice is as follows: “the passing of such a bylaw and establishing such a body would not come within the proposed amendments of the Criminal Code so as to make a professional MMA fight legal under the Code. While the bodies established by municipalities under the existing legislation can be seen to be established “under the authority of the province’s legislature”, they are established pursuant to a general authority and as such would not come within the wording of the section.”
If the government chooses to sanction professional MMA (regardless of whether provincial or municipal), new legislation or amendments to the three Municipal Acts would need to be done.
Ms. Bauman’s analysis may prove troubling for Commissions in Alberta if their authority was scrutinized as their powers are derived from a similar legal footing as what Weyburn purported to do. Although, as previously discussed, section 535 of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act is a strong factor in support of Municipal Commission powers in Alberta and a similar section does not exist in Saskatchewan. The bottom line is Provincial governments have the trump card in how Combat Sports will be regulated in Canada. Saskatchewan has played theirs.
Erik Magraken is a personal injury litigator and Partner with the British Columbia law-firm MacIsaac & Company. The article was re-printed with permission from his Canadian MMA Law Blog.