As previously discussed, Bill S-209 did not make MMA legal in all of Canada, instead it made the sport illegal by default and forced Provinces to pass appropriate laws if they wished to change this. Provinces that fail to act in a timely manner jeopardize the local landscape of the sport. Such a situation appears to now be unraveling in New Brunswick.
The Moncton Boxing and Wrestling Commission has been sanctioning combat sports and MMA for years although the ability of the Commission to get around the Criminal Code is questionable given the Province’s legal landscape. I am now advised that the City has pulled the commission’s ability to sanction all combat sports outside of boxing and wrestling. The City is concerned that given the now clear language of section 83 of the Criminal Code that New Brunswick lacks the proper top down framework to allow the City Commission to regulate MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing. Moncton has taken the position that the authority of the Commission is now limited to boxing and wrestling and that MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing promoters “are left to judge for themselves if they can carry on events without violating the Criminal Code“.
This is an example of a problem which could have been avoided by proactive laws at the Provincial level in the face of Bill S-209. Provinces such as BC have passed appropriate laws giving combat sports a clear framework in BC. New Brunswick, along with many other Provinces, need to do the same. I have asked the Province for comment on this situation and will update this article once they respond.