OUMA Interpretation of the Combat Sports Act, 2019

Ontario Union of Martial Artists OUMA Interpretation of the Combat Sports Act, 2019

To start, here is a disclaimer:

OUMA is not an advising legal organization.  The opinions expressed in this article do not represent a professional legal opinion and the OUMA presents this information for educational and discussion purposes only.  By accessing this site and reading its content you agree that the OUMA and its membership are not liable for any damages related to your actions based on content from within this Website.

This interpretations is based on Schedule 9 of the following document: https://www.ola.org/sites/default/files/node-files/bill/document/pdf/2019/2019-05/b100rep_e.pdf

OUMA  Interpretation of Bill 100, Schedule 9: The Combat Sports Act, 2019

For the purposes of this article I will focus on some key issues that community members have raised during meetings and gatherings over the past 18 months.  I will also focus only on Amateur and Recreational Martial Arts Practice.

Sanctioning Rights and Organizations

Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) will not be the sole sanctioning voice.  In many cases independent organizations or martial art forms outside of a PSO could apply for sanctioning directly to the Provincial Governments Sanctioning Commission.  These requirements will be further defined in its ‘regulations’.  This is where you come, in and register with the OUMA (if you haven’t already) to have your voice represented in the definition of regulations!

Sanctioning Liability

The act has yet to define liability governance but has clearly taken the direction that no one-person within the government, or any group of people within the government will be held liable for damages as a result of sanctioning an amateur or professional event.  This is an important call-out that address issues from previous legislation where government officials have been sued (and are still being sued) for damages related to combat sports governance.

Definitions of Combat Sports

There are clear definitions of what Combat Sports mean.  Moreover, if The Act misses something, it can be easily appended to include a martial art that was missed on first pass.  Combat Sports includes martial arts that practitioners participate in based on their spiritual practice or other non-combative purpose.  For the purposes of the legislation it considers martial arts as combative by their nature (otherwise why describe the practice as a martial art).  The OUMA is lobbying to separate amateur and recreational martial arts that are based on non-contact competitions and/or non-contact exhibitions to be exempt from the Combat Sports Act, 2019.

Cost of Sanctioning

The costs of sanctioning an event is still to be determined.  In sections 6 through 19 The act outlines license and event permit requirements which also include ‘Prescribed Fees’.  The ‘Prescribed Fees’ will be defined in the regulations of The Act.  The OUMA is lobbying for amateur and non-contact events to not require sanctioning, licensing or event permits and as such should not have fees required.

Insurance Requirements

It does not appear to be a requirement for amateur events at this time.  The act does allow for it however, and it may be a requirement for an organization to have insurance coverage in order to be eligible to be excluded from sanctioning requirements (guessing).  Again, this is a regulation that will be addressed through The Act’s definition.  At this point there is no clear decision on whether amateur or recreational practitioners require or do not require insurance.

Do All Events Require Sanctioning?

Not all events will require sanctioning.  It is stated very clearly in section 19…”An amateur combative sport contest or exhibition may be held without an event permit if,
(a) the contest or exhibition is held with the permission of a prescribed person or entity or is held under any of the prescribed circumstances; or (b) the contest or exhibition satisfies the prescribed criteria”  The OUMA is lobbying for the prescribed criteria to be include amateur/recreational non-contact tournaments and exhibitions.

What are the Next Steps, How Can I Get Involved?

We need your help!  Write your MPP and ask that amateur martial arts be excluded from the Combat Sports Act, 2019.  Join the OUMA and unite our shared voice to power our lobbying efforts.

Do I Still Need to be a Member of a PSO?

If you want to be recognized as an elite martial artist under the governance of PSO’s then yes, you may still need to be a member of a PSO.

What About Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts in all forms (amateur or professional) appear to be a focus for sanctioning, governance, inspection and application of the Combat Sports Act, 2019.

What About Professional Martial Arts

The same act considers both professional and amateur and recreational martial arts.

What About Aikijujitsu, Kendo, or Other Non-Mainstream Martial Arts?

The Act provides sanctioning and other considerations for traditional and other martial arts that fall out of mainstream definition.  Unfortunately it is the same provision that groups amateur martial arts into Combative Sports.  The definition is made in Section 1, sub-section 2:

“(2) A reference to “combative sport” in this Act and the regulations, including within the definitions of “amateur combative
sport contest or exhibition” and “professional combative sport contest or exhibition” in subsection (1), means a sport in
which contestants meet by previous arrangement for the purpose of an encounter or fight and,
(a) strike their opponents using their hands, fists, feet or any other body part or any combination of them;
(b) use throwing, grappling or submission techniques; or
(c) engage in any other prescribed technique.
(3) The Minister may set out in the regulations, for information purposes, sports that are combative sports. However, for
clarity, a sport may be a combative sport even if it has not been set out in the regulations.”