Archive for the ‘Municipal MMA Law’ Category

Update August 13, 2014 – Voting on this bylaw is now scheduled for September 8 at 1:30 pm

vernon MMA ban update

Update July 23, 2014 – Today the City of Vernon confirmed to me, via Twitter, that they have dropped the intended ban on amateur MMA with the proposed legislation only targeting professional Mixed Martial Arts Vernon City Tweets Re MMA Ban Bill                         ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Recently I canvassed the City of Vernon, BC’s, plans to ban MMA competitions from the City’s borders.  The first draft of the proposed law sought to ban both professional and amateur MMA events.  The proposed ban on amateur MMA is legally problematic and arguably outside of the scope of the City’s powers. Vernon now appears alive to this concern and they are considering a new version of the proposed ban which will only prohibit professional contests.  Below is  the City’s reasons addressing the reasons why the first version is problematic; Vernon Rational on no ammy ban page 1   Vernon Rational on no ammy ban page 2                                   ——————————————————————————————

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And here is the wording of the alternative version of the proposed MMA Ban:  

WHEREAS section 59(1 )(f) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests; AND WHEREAS section 8(3)(i) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit activities in relation to public health; AND WHEREAS under section 2(1 )(a) of the Private Health Bylaws Regulation (B.C. Reg. 42/2004) a bylaw in relation to the protection, promotion or preservation of the health of individuals must be deposited with the Minister of Health; AND WHEREAS section 8(6) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to control, inspect, limit and restrict business, including by establishing rules respecting what must be done in relation to the business and business activities; AND WHEREAS section 59(2) of the Community Charter provides that before adopting a bylaw under section 8(6) or 59(1 ), Council must give notice of its intention as Council considers reasonable, and provide an opportunity for persons who consider they are affected by the bylaw to make representations to Council;

NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the City of Vernon in open meeting enacts as follows: Citation 1. This bylaw shall be cited for all purposes as “City of Vernon Mixed Martial Arts Bylaw Number 5505, 2014″.

Definitions 2. In this bylaw, (a) “business” means carrying on a commercial activity or undertaking of any kind or providing a service for the purpose of profit or gain; (b) “contest” includes an exhibition; (c) “matchmaker” means a person who arranges contests between particular athletes for a mixed martial arts contest; (d) “mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat between two or more persons involving the use of a combination of techniques from other martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, kicking, striking and holding; (e) “promoter” means a person who carries on a business in relation to mixed martial arts; (f) “second” means a person who assists an athlete between rounds in the course of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition.

Mixed Martial Arts 3. No person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts contest.

4. Without limiting section 3 or other forms of athletic contest, no person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts contest if the contest is or relates to a business or business activity.

5. Without limiting sections 3 or 4, or other forms of athletic contest, no person may act as a promoter, matchmaker or second in a mixed martial arts contest if-the contest is or relates to a business or business activity.

6. Nothing in sections 3 through 5 regulates an amateur mixed martial arts contest or exhibition held by or in relation to the business of a mixed martial arts training studio or trainer holding a valid and subsisting business license.

Offences and Fines 7. (a) Every person who contravenes, suffers or permits any act or thing to be done in contravention of, or neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to be done pursuant to any provision of this bylaw or any notice issued pursuant to this bylaw, commits an offence punishable on summary conviction, and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding the sum of $10,000.00. (b) Where an offence is a continuing offence, each day that the offence IS continued shall constitute a separate and distinct offence.

Severability 8. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this bylaw shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this bylaw, which shall remain in full force and effect.

It is, at this stage, unclear which version of the law will be voted on although it appears they are leaning towards the legally problematic first draft.  I will continue to report on this matter as further details unfold.

Update June 24, 2014 – the vote for the below bill has been postponed until July 14:

 

City of Vernon MMA Ban Vote Delayed

 

 

 

 

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Last month I discussed Vernon, BC’s, plans to ban Mixed Martial Arts from their City.  The proposed law has now been drafted and is up for discussion and voting on June 23, 2014.

In short the law seeks to ban both professional and amateur MMA within City limits.  Those that break the law are exposed to a fine of up to $10,000 for “each day that the offence is continued“.

While the City is on sound footing in having the legal authority to ban professional MMA, the proposed ban on Amateur MMA is suspect and arguably outside the scope of the City’s powers given the legal framework the Federal Government and the Province have put together for the regulation of the sport.

The proposed law, Bylaw Number 5505, reads as follows:

WHEREAS section 59(1)(f) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests;
AND WHEREAS section 8(3)(i) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
activities in relation to public health;
AND WHEREAS under section 2(1)(a) of the Private Health Bylaws Regulation (B.C.
Reg. 42/2004) a bylaw in relation to the protection, promotion or preservation of the
health of individuals must be deposited with the Minister of Health;
AND WHEREAS section 8(6) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to control,
inspect, limit and restrict business, including by establishing rules respecting what must
be done in relation to the business and business activities;
AND WHEREAS section 59(2) of the Community Charter provides that before adopting
a bylaw under section 8(6) or 59(1), Council must give notice of its intention as Council
considers reasonable, and provide an opportunity for persons who consider they are
affected by the bylaw to make representations to Council;
NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the City of Vernon in open
meeting enacts as follows:
Citation
1. This bylaw shall be cited for all purposes as “City of Vernon Mixed Martial Arts
Bylaw Number 5505, 2014.
Definitions
2. In this bylaw,
(a) “business” means carrying on a commercial activity or undertaking of any kind
or providing a service for the purpose of profit or gain;

(b) “contest” includes an exhibition;

(c) “matchmaker” means a person who arranges contests between particular
athletes for a mixed martial arts contest;
(d) “mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat between two or more persons
involving the use of a combination of techniques from other martial arts,
including, without limitation, grappling, kicking, striking and holding;
(e) “promoter” means a person who carries on a business in relation to mixed
martial arts;
(f) “second” means a person who assists an athlete between rounds in the
course of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition.
Mixed Martial Arts
3. No person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts
contest.
4. No person may engage as a contestant in an amateur mixed martial arts contest.
5. Without limiting section 3 or 4 or other forms of athletic contest, no person may
engage as a contestant in a mixed martial arts contest if the contest is or relates
to a business or business activity.
6. Without limiting sections 3, 4 or 5, or other forms of athletic contest, no person
may act as a promoter, matchmaker or second in a mixed martial arts contest or
exhibition if the contest or exhibition is or relates to a business activity.
Offences and Fines
7. (a) Every person who contravenes, suffers or permits any act or thing to be done
in contravention of, or neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to
be done pursuant to any provision of this bylaw or any notice issued pursuant to
this bylaw, commits an offence punishable on summary conviction, and shall be
liable to a fine not exceeding the sum of $10,000.00.
(b) Where an offence is a continuing offence, each day that the offence is
continued shall constitute a separate and distinct offence.

Severability
8. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this bylaw shall not affect
the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this bylaw, which shall
remain in full force and effect.

City of Vernon Logo

While British Columbia has a Province wide Athletic Commission with monopoly powers to oversee and regulate MMA, BC’s legal framework gives individual cities a choice allowing them to outright ban certain combat sports.  Specifically, section 59(f)(1) of BC’s Community Charter allows the passage of City bylaws that “prohibit professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests“.  It appears the City of Vernon is prepared to exercise these powers to ban MMA.

Recently, Vernon accepted the fate that Bill 50 stripped their local commission of powers and adopted Bylaw 4954 which repealed their Athletic Commission. The City is now reportedly going further and looking to outright ban MMA.

Infotel.ca reports that City council is moving forward with the creation of a bylaw that would ban Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events within municipal limits.”  Apparently the law has yet to be drafted however Infotel reports that “Council directed staff to prepare a draft bylaw for consideration.”.  

If properly drafted the City appears to be within their rights to ban MMA.  Interestingly the language of BC’s Community Charter seems to limit the City’s power to only ban professional combat sports, amateur combat sports appear immune from the City’s powers.

 

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Update June 10, 2014 – The minutes of the City Council meeting have been released addressing this development.  They give little detail but provide as follows:

THAT Council brings forward, as public information, the following
motions declassified from confidential to non-confidential at the May 26,
2014, In Camera meeting:

‘THAT Council direct Administration to draft a bylaw or bylaws for
Council consideration which will prohibit professional and amateur
Mixed Martial Arts events within municipal limits.’

Interestingly, this reveals that the City is looking to ban amateur MMA as well, a move that appears ultra vires (beyond the powers granted to them) under s. 59(f)(1) of the Community Charter.

 

 

Moncton Boxing Commission Logo

Update October 5, 2013 – The City of Moncton has now pulled the Commission’s ability to oversee MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing.

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Although the City of Moncton has an established Athletic Commission with the power to regulate and oversee both amateur and professional MMA events, the Commission’s blessing may not be enough to get participants around Canada’s Criminal Code.

When analyzing the legality of MMA in any given jurisdiction in Canada the first stop is section 83 of the Criminal Code which makes the sport illegal by default.  To comply with the section a professional contest must be “held in a province with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board, commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the province’s legislature for the control of sport within the province.

For an amateur MMA event to be legal the event must be held with the permission or with the designation “by the province’s lieutenant governor in council or by any other person or body specified by him or her” in compliance with Section 83(2)or(3) of the Criminal Code.  In other words, there has to be appropriate Provincial legislation creating the regulatory framework for the sport.

So what’s wrong in the case of Moncton?

The Moncton Boxing and Wrestling Commission derives their powers from Moncton Bylaw H-510.  This law creates the Commission and gives them the power to oversee various combat sports including professional and amateur MMA.  The problem, however, is there does not appear to be any Provincial enactment giving the City the power to pass such a law.  In legal terms, getting around the Criminal Code is arguably ‘ultra vires’ the City’s powers.

The ability of local governments to regulate MMA is a tricky subject when Provincial legislation is silent on the point.  Looking at other jurisdictions helps illustrate this.  While it is true that Alberta has a host of municipal commissions, there is a strong argument that they have obtained their power “under the authority of the province’s legislature” through Alberta’s Municipal Government Act which, in addition to the general powers it gives municipalities, strongly implies they have the power to regulate combat sports by the wording of section 535 which reads as follows:

Protection of sporting commissions 
535.1(1) In this section, “commission” means a commission 
established by bylaw for controlling and regulating any of the 
following: 
(a) boxing; 
(b) wrestling; 
(c) full contact karate;

(d) kickboxing; 

(e) any other sport that holds contests where opponents strike 
each other with a hand, foot, knee, elbow or other part of 
the body. 

(2) A commission and its members, officers, employees and any 
volunteers and officials performing duties under the direction of 
any of them are not liable for anything said or done or omitted to 
be done in good faith in the performance or intended performance 
of their functions, duties or powers under this Act or any other 
enactment. 
(3) Subsection (2) is not a defence if the cause of action is 
defamation.

The New Brunswick Provincial law does not contain a similar provision.  At best it appears the City of Moncton can try to rely on the general powers they have through the Municipalities Act or the Moncton Consolidation Act to regulate MMA.  When a city in Saskatchewan tried the same thing the Province was quick to shut down the effort stating the City law would not comply with the Criminal Code.

I have reached out to the Moncton Boxing and Wrestling Commission inviting them to point out any Provincial enactment that gives the City the power to oversee this sport.  As of the writing of this article they have not replied.

Clear Provincial legislation is strongly desired to give certainty to MMA and other combat sports participants.  The Provincial Government should do so and take away this legal ambiguity and uncertainty.  New Brunswick would be well served to either create a province wide commission or to pass the appropriate laws to make it clear that Municipalities indeed have the power to regulate the sport in compliance with section 83 of the Criminal Code.

image canadian territories mma law

The City of Yellowknife has a long history of hosting and regulating combat sport events including Mixed Martial Arts.  Despite this history, can the City legally regulate MMA events given the newly amended section 83 of the Criminal Code?

As previously discussed, section 83 makes professional MMA illegal by default in all of Canada unless the contest is “held in a province with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board, commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the province’s legislature for the control of sport within the province.”

At first glance, this very specifically worded limitation appears to only give Canadian Provinces, not Territories, the ability to legalize MMA.  There is a clear legal distinction between the two.  However, looking at section 35 of the Canadian Interpretation Act the definition of Province when used in an enactment “includes Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut”  and the definition of “legislature” includes”the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, as constituted before September 1, 1905, the Legislature of Yukon, the Commissioner in Council of the Northwest Territories, and the Legislature for Nunavut.

So, after this roundabout exercise it is clear that section 83 does in fact allow the Canadian Territories to legalize MMA if they so choose.

Turning the focus specifically to Yellowknife, the City has passed Bylaw N0. 4396 creating an athletic commission with powers to regulate MMA.  As with Cities in Alberta, Yellowknife purports to obtain the power to create such a commission from general language contained in Provincial / Territorial legislation.  In creating their commission the City of Yellowknife relies on Section 70(1)(h) of the Cities, Towns and Villages act which gives it the authority to “make by-laws for municipal purposes respecting programs, services, infrastructure and facilities provided or operated by or on behalf of the municipal corporation“.  It is unclear whether such a general provision actually gives a local government such as Yellowknife the ability to regulate MMA in compliance with the Criminal Code.

Alberta seems content with such an interpretation although section 535 of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act strongly implies such a power.  The Northwest Territories law does not have a similar provision.  If the Yellowknife Commission’s powers were ever challenged by the government of the Northwest Territories the Commission’s existence would likely be in peril as was demonstrated by Saskatchewan’s recent actions.  If the Territorial government does not want to play their trump card and is ok with the City’s interpretation of their powers then the Commission likely has legal authority to do what it does.

Moving on from this hurdle, both amateur and professional MMA appear to be legal in Yellowknife.   The Commission has statutory powers to oversee all “regulated sports” which are defined as follows:

 professional boxing, professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, full contact karate, kickboxing, muay thai and all sports that hold contests between opponents involving striking with hand, feet, knees or elbows, grappling, submission or take downs.

This language does not limit the Commission to only professional MMA but to all MMA.  Section 6(d) of the Bylaw goes on to adopt “the rules and regulations set by the Nevada State Athletic Commission“.  A copy of these can be found here.  So the short answer is both professional and amateur MMA appear to be legal in Yellowknife under the watch of the local athletic commission so long as the Northwest Territories Government does not override the City’s powers to regulate combat sports.

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.

grande prairie city logo

As previously discussed, the now overhauled section 83 of the Criminal Code does not in and of itself make MMA legal across Canada, it allows Provinces to make it legal on a Province by Province basis.  The default is the sport remains illegal.  It requires Provincial regulation.  This needs to happen for both professional and amateur contests.  The landscape on the professional side is more mature.  The amateur side, however, remains the biggest problem.

I previously highlighted issues on the amateur side in British Columbia, Calgary and Ontario.  The latest fallout on the amateur side comes from the City of Grande Prairie.

Top MMA News reports thatall ammy fights have been cancelled for Xcessive Fighting Championship on September 3rd due to Bill S-209“.

This is not surprising since the Grand Prairie Combative Sports Bylaw falls short of the legislative mark to allow amateur MMA to be legal in the City.  The legal breakdown is similar to the drilldown I provided for Calgary AMMA which you can find here.

The Bylaw does not give the commission the authority to regulate “Amateur Combative Sports Events“.  Since Alberta presently chooses to regulate MMA, both professional and amateur, on a municipal level, local governments must pass clear legislation addressing the legality of each otherwise the sport remains illegal by default due to section 83 of the Criminal Code.

I’ve reached out to the Grande Prairie Combative Sports Commission for commentary on AMMA in their City and any plans to overhaul their bylaw to address this legal gap.  I will update this post once they reply.

Yes, once again here comes a lawyer to take all the fun out of things!  Today I will breakdown the legal authority (or lack thereof) of the Calgary Combative Sports Commission to regulate AMMA.

AFC 20 is scheduled to take place in Calgary in July and three amateur bouts are reportedly taking place.   Given the new Canadian legal landscape relating to amateur combat sports, is there a proper framework in place to regulate AMMA in Calgary?  The answer is likely no.  Here’s why –

The starting point is section 83 of the Criminal Code which makes MMA illegal unless a proper Provincial framework exists.

Section 83(2)(d) gives Provinces the ability to create commissions to regulate MMA and does not appear to be limited to professional MMA.  It specifically gives Provinces the ability to create “an athletic board, commission, or similar body” to regulate MMA so long as the body is “established by or under the authority of the province’s legislatute for the control of sport withing the province“.

In Alberta, no Province wide commission exists, with MMA instead being regulated on a municipal level.   There is nothing wrong with this so long as the municipal commissions derive their authority “by or under the authority of the province’s legislature”.   

Calgary purports to derive their authority from Alberta’s Municipal Government Act, which allows bylaws to be passed respecting “safety, heath and welfare of people” and also “business activities“.  Although the Municipal Government Act does not expressly give the City the power to regulate MMA, such a power is strongly implied  under section 535(1)which reads as follow

Protection of sporting commissions
535.1(1) In this section, “commission” means a commission
established by bylaw for controlling and regulating any of the
following:
(a) boxing;
(b) wrestling;
(c) full contact karate;

(d) kickboxing; 

(e) any other sport that holds contests where opponents strike
each other with a hand, foot, knee, elbow or other part of
the body.

(2) A commission and its members, officers, employees and any
volunteers and officials performing duties under the direction of
any of them are not liable for anything said or done or omitted to
be done in good faith in the performance or intended performance
of their functions, duties or powers under this Act or any other
enactment.
(3) Subsection (2) is not a defence if the cause of action is
defamation.

MMA is clearly captured under subsection (e) so if this is an implied power Commissions can regulate MMA.  There is nothing limiting this implied power to only professional MMA.

So, assuming the Calgary commission properly derives their authority in compliance with section 83 of the Criminal Code, the next step is to look at the bylaw setting up the commission.  The bylaw in question is the Combative Sports Commission Bylaw.

This Bylaw creates a Commission and tasks them with authority to sanction and licence “combative sports events” .  This is where the legal authority wanes thin.  Events are defined as follows:

“combative sports event” or “event” includes any exhibition, card, contest
or promotion involving the presentation of combative sports but does not
include amateur events.

“combative sports” means a sport involving physical contact, the primary
purpose of which is the allotment of points, and includes boxing, kick
boxing, mixed martial arts and muay thai;

Since amateur events are specifically excluded from the definition of “events” the Commission does not appear to have the authority to regulate these.  This becomes particularly clear when you look at section 34(2) which holds in part that a licence shall not be required for amateur events featuring amateur contestants.

So, if the Commission does not have the authority/ability to licence an amateur event or contestant which amateur events are legal in Calgary?  Amateur Events and Amateur Contestants are defined as follows:

“amateur contestant” means anyone who participates in a combative
sport that is governed by one or more of the amateur bodies listed in
Schedule “F” and does not receive any money or other gain from such
participation;

(d.1) “amateur event” means a combative sports competition that features
amateur contestants and is governed by one or more of the amateur
bodies listed in Schedule “F”;

Schedule F goes on to list the following “governing bodies” who are given the ability to regulate amateur events:

F.1 Alberta Amateur Boxing Association and Boxing Alberta
F.2 CMTC – A, Canadian Muay Thai Council Amateur (Alberta)
F.3 World Kickboxing Association
F.4 International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur

To my knowledge none of these bodies regulate AMMA.

Where does this leave us?

1. The Commission does not appear to have the ability to regulate AMMA

2.  The permitted amateur events do not include AMMA.

Not Done Yet –

This takes us back to section 83 of the Criminal Code.  If a Provincially established commission does not have authority to regulate any given combat sport then one must look to the amateur exceptions in the Criminal Code.   Presently none of these seem to apply since MMA is not on the programme of the IOC, nor has Alberta passed the proper laws to legislate AMMA outside of the Criminal Code.  The Provincial legislature can easily fix this problem if they have the will to do so.

One last kick at the can –

I am advised that the CCSC deems AMMA to be professional thereby giving them the right to regulate the sport.  The authority for this is apparently derived from the fact that the Unified Rules of MMA specifically deal with amateur contests.

This logic, unfortunately, does not hold water.   While Schedule E of the Calgary bylaw specifically incorporates the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Unified Mixed Martial Arts Rules, and while it is true that these do deal with the regulation of AMMA, Section 52(6) of the Calgary Bylaw reads as follows:

Where there is a conflict between the rules and regulations provided for in this
Section or in the Schedules to this Bylaw and a provision of this Bylaw, the Bylaw
provision shall prevail.

In plain English this means that the Unified Rules do not trump the fact that the Calgary Bylaw does not give the commission the authority to regulate AMMA.

So, AMMA appears to, unfortunately, lack a proper framework to be legal in Calgary.

The good news is this is a problem that can be fixed.  This shortcoming can be remedied either on the Provincial level if Alberta decides to regulate MMA on a province wide basis, or, if local commissions will remain the law of the land in Alberta then the local Bylaw can be amended to specifically address AMMA.

 

wood buffalo logo

With Bill S-209 now in force the legislative floodgates are opening with regional governments passing laws addressing mixed martial arts and other combat sports.   Alberta’s Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) is the latest to enter the fray with the City Council having just passed a Combative Sports Commission Bylaw.

The new bylaw received Third Reading on June 25, 2013.  The local commission will be tasked with regulating and  licencing professional “combative sports events” which are defined as follows:

“Combative Sports” means any sport that holds contests where opponents strike
each other with a hand, foot, knee, elbow or other parts of the body, including, but
not limited to, boxing, wrestling, full contact karate, kickboxing, martial arts,
mixed martial arts and muay thai;

These events will be regulated by the Commission and with this will be brought into legal compliance with section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code.

The Commission will not regulate amateur combat sports events but these will be permitted so long as they are overseen by “one or more amateur bodies“.  Amateur Contestants and Amateur Events are defined as follows:

“Amateur Contestant” means anyone who participates in a Combative Sport that
is governed by one or more amateur bodies and does not receive any money or
other gain from such participation;
 “Amateur Event” means a Combative Sports competition that is restricted to
Amateur Contestants and is governed by one or more amateur bodies;

You can find the Bylaw here –  fort mcmurray combative sports commission bylaw

Here is the video feed of the Commissions Deliberations and Vote

http://woodbuffalo.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=222&doctype=agenda&itemid=3342

I have spent a lot of time highlighting the Federal Government’s effort to amend the Criminal Code to legalize MMA in Canada, I have also spent time highlighting Provincial obligations to ensure amateur contests do not slip between the cracks, this leaves the last level of government – the Municipal.  Can municipalities outlaw consensual fighting?  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the Alberta Court of Appeal finding that City Bylaws outlawing ‘consensual fighting‘ can in fact fall within Municipal Government powers.

In last week’s case (R. v. Keshane) the Court considered whether an Edmonton bylaw prohibiting “consensual and non-consensual fighting in public and quasi-public places” punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 was lawful.  At issue was whether a City Government had the power to pass such a law by the powers delegated to them by the Province or whether it exceeded their jurisdiction and fell exclusively in the powers of the Federal Government.  The Alberta Court of Appeal held that both branches of Government held this power and upheld the law.  In doing so the Alberta Court of Appeal provided the following reasons:

while s 7 overlaps with the criminal code to the extent it creates an offence for non‑consensual fighting in public places, it also creates offences which are not addressed within the Criminal Code, including the offence of consensual fighting in a public place and fighting in a public place in circumstances which do not create a public disturbance, or where the creation of a public disturbance was not reasonably forseeable…

[28]           The legal effect of s 7 is to prohibit both consensual and non‑consensual fighting in public and quasi‑public places and to enforce that provision by imposition of a penalty…

[39]           We conclude that the dominant purpose of s 7 does not fall within the federal division of powers for the following reasons, some of which also supported my conclusion as to its “ pith and substance”:

a.         in purpose and effect it regulates the conduct and activities of people in public places with a view to promoting the safe, enjoyable and reasonable use of such property for the benefit of all citizens of the City;

 b.         it creates an offence to engage in conduct which does not also amount to criminal conduct, i.e. the overlap with the Criminal Code is not complete;

 c.         the penalty imposed is merely a fine, and conviction does not create a criminal record; most if not all of those convicted would view these consequences as less serious than those flowing from criminal conviction;

 d.       the s 7 offence is found within a group of other offences prohibiting conduct which no one suggests is criminal, but which negatively impacts the use and enjoyment of public places; and,

 e.         its focus is not the harm caused to victims of fighting, or to those involved in consensual fights but rather on those who, indirectly, are affected by street fighting, including neighbors and those using streets and sidewalks.

[41]           We agree with the reviewing judge that the provincial (or municipal) and federal aspects of s 7 are roughly equal in importance, triggering the application of the double aspect doctrine of judicial restraint which applies to uphold the validity of s 7; CWB at para 30; Reference re Securities Act,  2011 SCC 66 (CanLII), 2011 SCC 66 at paras 63‑67.

[42]            It is not possible to determine which aspect of legislative power is dominant in relation to the subject of s 7. It substantially overlaps both domains. The result is that we must apply the double aspect doctrine of judicial restraint to conclude that s 7 falls within the province’s power to legislate and is therefore valid.

From a regulatory perspective, this means all three levels of Government can come into play when addressing the legality of MMA and other combat sports in Canada.