Code of Conduct and Ethics

Basketball Nova Scotia

Basketball Nova Scotia strongly believes in fostering the development of its members, coaches, officials, parents and especially the athletes. Fair Play by definition is based on three main principles - INTEGRITY, FAIRNESS and RESPECT. Fair Play does not refer to equal playing time. It is expected that everyone involved with Basketball Nova Scotia will uphold the Fair Play Policies that Basketball Nova Scotia has adopted.

As we are involved with the development of young people, Basketball Nova Scotia wants every child’s experience with the program to be positive. We want everybody to experience success, but also want to emphasize the importance of skill development and fun. It is important that we all have a clear understanding of what Fair Play is, and that we work together toward common Fair Play goals. Our older athletes need to be reminded of the importance of Fair Play and our younger athletes need to be taught Fair Play effectively so that it becomes an important part of their overall development.

** This Code of Conduct replaces and supersedes all pre-existing alternate codes of conduct.**


Fair Play
Application of this Code
Board/Committee Members and Staff
Member Associations & Clubs
Parents/Guardians and Spectators

The Five Ideals of Fair Play are:

  • Respect the rules
  • Respect the officials and accept their decisions
  • Respect your opponent
  • Give everybody an equal chance to participate
  • Maintain your self-control at all times


The following are the Codes of Conduct that Basketball Nova Scotia has adopted and expects each one of the parties identified to respect.


1. The following term has this meaning for this code of conduct:
“Individuals” - All categories of membership defined in Basketball Nova Scotia’s By-Laws, as well as, all individuals engaged in activities with Basketball Nova Scotia, including but not limited to, clubs, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, managers, administrators, directors and officers of Basketball Nova Scotia, spectators of Basketball Nova Scotia events and parents of Basketball Nova Scotia members.


2. The purpose of this Code of Conduct (“Code”) is to ensure a safe and positive environment (within Basketball Nova Scotia programs, activities, and events) by making all Individuals aware that there is an expectation, at all times, of appropriate behaviour consistent with the values of Basketball Nova Scotia, as set out in section 3 of this Code.

3. Basketball Nova Scotia is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect. Basketball Nova Scotia supports equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices. Individuals are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner consistent with the values of Basketball Nova Scotia that include fairness, integrity, accountability, excellence, accessibility, innovation, and respect. 

4. Conduct that violates this Code may be subject to sanctions pursuant to Basketball Nova Scotia’s Discipline and Complaints Policy.

Application of this Code

5. This Code applies to conduct that may arise during the course of Basketball Nova Scotia business, activities, and events, including but not limited to: its office environment, competitions, practices, training camps, tryouts, travel, and any meetings of Basketball Nova Scotia.

6. This Code also applies to the conduct of Individuals that may occur outside of Basketball Nova Scotia’s business, activities, events, and meetings when such conduct adversely affects relationships within Basketball Nova Scotia (and its work and sport environment) and is detrimental to the image and reputation of Basketball Nova Scotia and the sport of basketball in Nova Scotia.  Such applicability will be made by Basketball Nova Scotia in its sole discretion.


7. All Individuals have a responsibility to:

a) Maintain and enhance the dignity and self-esteem of Basketball Nova Scotia members and other Individuals by:
i. Demonstrating respect to individuals regardless of body type, physical characteristics, athletic ability, gender, ancestry, colour, ethnic or racial origin, nationality, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, religious belief, political belief, disability or economic status

ii. Focusing comments or criticism appropriately and avoiding public criticism of athletes, coaches, officials, organizers, volunteers, employees and members

iii. Consistently demonstrating the spirit of sportsmanship, sport leadership and ethical conduct

iv. Acting, when appropriate, to prevent or correct practices that are unjustly discriminatory;

v. Consistently treating individuals fairly and reasonably

vi. Ensuring adherence to the rules of basketball and the spirit of those rules

b) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading, or malicious. Types of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:
i. Written or verbal abuse, threats or outburst

ii. The display of visual material which is offensive or which one ought to know is offensive in the circumstances

iii. Unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendo or taunts

iv. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures

v. Condescending or patronizing behaviour which is intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish performance or adversely affect working conditions

vi. Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance

vii. Any form of hazing where hazing is defined as “Any potentially humiliating, degrading, abusive, or dangerous activity expected of a junior-ranking athlete by a more senior team-mate, which does not contribute to either athlete’s positive development, but is required to be accepted as part of a team, regardless of the junior-ranking athlete’s willingness to participate. This includes, but is not limited to, any activity, no matter how traditional or seemingly benign, that sets apart or alienates any team-mate based on class, number of years on the team, or athletic ability.”

viii. Unwanted physical contact including, but not limited to, touching, petting, pinching, or kissing

ix. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, requests, or invitations

x. Physical or sexual assault

xi. Behaviours such as those described above that are not directed towards a specific individual or group but have the same effect of creating a negative or hostile environment

xii. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment to Basketball Nova Scotia

c) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
i. Sexist jokes

ii. Display of sexually offensive material

iii. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person

iv. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life

v. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions

vi. Persistent unwanted contact

d) Abstain from the non-medical use of drugs or the use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods. More specifically, Basketball Nova Scotia adopts and adheres to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. Any infraction under this Program shall be considered an infraction of this Code and shall be subject to disciplinary action, and possible sanction, pursuant to Basketball Nova Scotia Discipline and Complaints Policy. Basketball Nova Scotia will respect any penalty enacted pursuant to a breach of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, whether imposed by Basketball Nova Scotia or any other sport organization

e) Refrain from associating with any person for the purpose of coaching, training, competition, instruction, administration, management, athletic development or supervision of the sport of competitive basketball, who has incurred an anti-doping rule violation and is serving a sanction involving a period of ineligibility imposed pursuant to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program and/or the World Anti-Doping Code and recognized by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES)

f) Refrain from the use of power or authority in an attempt to coerce another person to engage in inappropriate activities

g) In the case of adults, avoid consuming alcohol in situations where minors are present, and take reasonable steps to manage the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages in adult-oriented social situations associated with Basketball Nova Scotia events.

h) Respect the property of others and not willfully cause damage

i) Promote basketball in the most constructive and positive manner possible

j) Adhere to all federal, provincial, municipal and host country laws

k) Comply at all times with the bylaws, policies, procedures, rules and regulations of Basketball Nova Scotia, as adopted and amended from time to time.

Board/Committee Members and Staff

8. In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), Board and Committee Members and Staff will:

a) Function primarily as a member of the board and/or committee(s) of Basketball Nova Scotia; not as a member of any other particular member or constituency

b) Act with honesty and integrity and conduct himself or herself in a manner consistent with the nature and responsibilities of Basketball Nova Scotia business and the maintenance of Member confidence

c) Ensures that the financial affairs of Basketball Nova Scotia are conducted in a responsible and transparent manner with due regard for his or her fiduciary responsibilities

d) Conduct oneself openly, professionally, lawfully and in good faith in the best interests of Basketball Nova Scotia

e) Be independent and impartial and not be influenced by self-interest, outside pressure, expectation of reward or fear of criticism

f) Behave with decorum appropriate to both circumstance and position and be fair, equitable, considerate and honest in all dealings with others

g) Keep informed about the activities of Basketball Nova Scotia, the provincial sport community, and general trends in the sectors in which it operates

h) Exercise the degree of care, diligence and skill required in the performance of his or her duties pursuant to the laws under which Basketball Nova Scotia is incorporated

i) Respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature

j) Ensure that all Members are given sufficient opportunity to express opinions, and that all opinions are given due consideration and weight

k) Respect the decisions of the majority and resign if unable to do so

l) Commit the time to attend meetings and to be diligent in preparation for, and participation in, discussions at such meetings

m) Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all Basketball Nova Scotia governance documents

n) Conforms to the bylaws and policies approved by Basketball Nova Scotia, in particular this Code of Conduct as well as, for Directors, the Conflict of Interest Policy and Confidentiality Agreement

Member Associations and Clubs

9. In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), Member Associations and Clubs will:

a) Deliver their services in compliance with the constitution, bylaws, policies, rules, regulations and procedures of Basketball Nova Scotia, and, where necessary, amend their own rules to comply with those of Basketball Nova Scotia

b) Ensure that all athletes and coaches participating in sanctioned competitions are registered Members, in Good Standing, of their respective organizations

c) Engage only authorized coaches and sanctioned athletes

d) Do your best to see that all players are given the same chance to participate, regardless of gender, ability, ethnic background or race.

e) Become familiar with Basketball Nova Scotia’s Policies and Procedures and ensure that all others involved are aware of them as well.

f) Incorporate Fair Play into policy statements and develop methods of ensuring those policies are followed.

g) Ensure that all equipment and facilities are safe and match the athlete’s ages and abilities.

h) Ensure that the age and maturing level of the participants are considered in program development, rule enforcement and scheduling.

i) Remember that play is done for its own sake and make sure that winning is kept in proper perspective.

j) Make Fair Play the foundation of all club workshops, seminars, coaching / officials clinics and meetings.

k) Distribute Fair Play Codes to spectators, coaches, players, officials, parents and media and lead by example.

l) Ensure that coaches and officials are capable of promoting Fair Play as well as the development of good technical skills and encourage them to become certified and continue their development.

m) Remember that you are in a position of authority and will use my best judgment that is in the best interests of the children and for the game of basketball.


10. In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), coaches have additional responsibilities. The coach-athlete relationship is a privileged one and plays a critical role in the personal, sport, and athletic development of the athlete. Coaches must understand and respect the inherent power imbalance that exists in this relationship and must be extremely careful not to abuse it, consciously or unconsciously.  Coaches will:
a) Meet the highest standards of credentials, integrity and suitability, including but not limited to such considerations established by the Basketball Nova Scotia Screening Policy, so that the community is satisfied it has minimized the risk of an unsafe environment

b) Report any ongoing criminal investigation, conviction or existing bail conditions, including those for violence; child pornography; or possession, use or sale of any illegal substance

c) Under no circumstances provide, promote or condone the use of drugs (other than properly prescribed medications) or performance-enhancing substances and, in the case of minors, alcoholic beverages and/or tobacco

d) Respect all other teams and athletes from other teams and, in dealings with them, not encroach upon topics or actions which are deemed to be within the realm of ‘coaching’, unless first receiving approval from the coach who is responsible for the team or athlete(s) involved

e) Not engage in a sexual relationship with an athlete of under the age of 18 years, or an intimate or sexual relation with an athlete over the age of 18 if the coach is in a position of power, trust or authority over such athlete

f) Recognize the power inherent in the position of coach and respect and promote the rights of all participants in sport. This is accomplished by establishing and following procedures for confidentiality (right to privacy), informed participation, and fair and reasonable treatment. Coaches have a special responsibility to respect and promote the rights of participants who are in a vulnerable or dependent position and less able to protect their own rights

g) Dress professionally, neatly and inoffensively

h) Use inoffensive language, taking into account the audience being addressed

i) Be reasonable when scheduling practices and games. I will remember the other interests and obligations of my players.

j) Teach players to play fair and respect the rules of the game as they are written.

k) Ensure that all players get equal instruction and support.

l) Recognize and reward all achievements other than just scoring points.

m) Never ridicule or yell at my players for making mistakes, performing poorly or losing. I will remember that children play to have fun and satisfaction and must be encouraged to have confidence in themselves.

n) Ensure that equipment and facilities meet safety standards and are appropriate for my player’s age and size.

o) Teach your team to respect the opposing teams, judgment of the referees and other administrators and will lead by example.

p) Follow a physician’s advice to decide when injured players are ready to play again.

q) Remember that children need a coach they can respect. I will be generous with deserved praise and set a good example.

r) Keep informed on sound coaching techniques based on the principles of growth and development of children and continue to upgrade my coaching skills.

s) Plan your season in advance and ensure I share it with my players and parents, particularly at the beginning of the season.

“As a coach, you are one of the most influential people in a child’s life. Your job is not only to teach the game of basketball, but also to teach how to win and lose graciously. You must also remind your athletes that sport is meant to be fun. The athletic skills these young people learn from you may only be used for a few years, the attitudes they develop toward themselves and others will last a lifetime.”


11.  In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), athletes will have additional responsibilities to:

a) Report any medical problems in a timely fashion, where such problems may limit the athlete’s ability to travel, train or compete

b) Participate and appear on time, well nourished and prepared to participate to one’s best abilities in all competitions, practices, training sessions, events, activities, or projects

c) Properly represent oneself and not attempt to enter a competition for which one is not eligible, by reason of age, classification, or other reason

d) Adhere to Basketball Nova Scotia’s rules and requirements regarding clothing and equipment

e) Never ridicule a participant for a poor performance or practice

f) Act in a sportsmanlike manner and not display appearances of violence, foul language, or gestures to other players, officials, coaches, or spectators

g) Dress in a manner representative of Basketball Nova Scotia with focus being on neatness, cleanliness, and discretion. Designated official clothing, if applicable, must be worn when traveling and competing

h) Act in accordance with Basketball Nova Scotia’s policies and procedures and, when applicable, additional rules as outlined by coaches or chaperones

i) Participate because you want to, not just because my parents or coaches want you to.

j) Play the game for the game’s sake. Be generous when I win and be gracious when you lose.

k) Play by the rules of basketball and in the spirit of the game.

l) Control your temper and understand that fighting and “mouthing off” can spoil the game for everybody and is unacceptable.

m) Respect your opponents.

n) Do your best to be a true team player and work for the good of the team.

o) Remember that having fun, improving skills, making friends and doing my best are more important than just winning games.

p) Remember that coaches and officials are there to help me and accept their decisions and show them respect.

q) Acknowledge all good plays / performances - those of your team and of your opponents.


12. In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), officials will have additional responsibilities to:

a) Accept an assignment to officiate at a game only if one intends to honour that commitment.  If, for any reason, one is unable to attend, let the person in charge of officials know as soon as possible

b) Be fair and objective

c) Avoid situations in which a conflict of interest may arise

d) Be as impartial, unobtrusive and inconspicuous as possible

e) Conduct all events according to the rules of Basketball Nova Scotia and the current FIBA rule system

f) Make independent judgments

g) Ensure that every player has a reasonable opportunity to perform to the best of his or her ability, within the limits of the rules.

h) Avoid or put an end to any situation that threatens the safety of the players.

i) Encourage other officials, players and coaches to play fair and respect the rules of the game as they are written.

j) Maintain a healthy atmosphere and environment for competition.

k) Do your best job you can in each game, no matter the category of basketball you are working.

l) Do not permit the intimidation of any player either by word or by action.

m) Do not tolerate unacceptable conduct toward officials, other players, coaches, spectators or yourself.

n) Represent yourself as professionally as possible in appearance and physical conditioning to suit the level of basketball you are officiating.

o) Be consistent and objective in calling all infractions, regardless of my personal feelings toward a specific team, player or coach.

p) Handle all conflicts firmly but with dignity.

q) Accept your role as teacher and role model for Fair Play, especially with young participants.

r) Be open to discussion and contact with the players before and after the game.

s) Remain open to constructive criticism and show respect and consideration for different points of view.

t) Show respect for other officials, players, coaches, volunteers and spectators.

u) Obtain proper training and continue to upgrade your officiating skills and knowledge of the game.

v) Work in cooperation with coaches for the benefit of the game.

Parents/Guardians and Spectators

13. In addition to paragraph 7 of Basketball Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (above), parents/guardians of Individuals and Spectators at events will:

a) Encourage athletes to play by the rules and resolve conflicts without resorting to hostility or violence

b) Never ridicule a participant for a poor performance or practice

c) Respect the decisions and judgments of officials and encourage athletes to do the same

d) Not question the judgment or honesty of an official or a Basketball Nova Scotia staff or board member

e) Respect and show appreciation to all competitors and to the coaches, officials, and other volunteers who give their time to the sport

f) Keep off of the competition area and not interfere with events or calls

g) Not force your child or others to participate in basketball.

h) Remember that children play organized sports for their own fun and benefit. They are not there to entertain, and they are NOT miniature professional athletes.

i) Explain the importance of “Fair Play” to your child and their coach along with others involved in basketball.

j) Encourage your child to play by the rules and to resolve conflicts without resorting to hostility or violence.

k) Teach your child that doing one’s best is as important as winning, so your child will never feel defeated by the outcome of the game.

l) Make your child feel like a winner every time by offering praise for competing fairly and trying hard.

m) Never ridicule or yell at your child or coach for making a mistake or losing a game.

n) Remember that children learn best by example and will applaud good plays by the home team and the visiting team.

o) Be on your best behaviour at all times and will not use profane language or harass players, coaches, referees, administrators, volunteers or the opposing team.

p) Never question the referee or coach’s judgment or honesty in public and will respect their decisions and involvement in my child’s development.

q) Show respect for the visiting team - without them there would be no game.

r) Make involvement in this basketball program for your child and others a positive experience.

s) Condemn the use of violence and verbal abuse in all forms.

t) Encourage players always to play according to the rules of basketball.

u) Attempt to relieve the pressure of competition, not increase it. A child is easily affected by outside influences.

This policy was developed and adopted by the Basketball Nova Scotia Board of Directors on Sunday, October 23, 2016.

 Code of conduct & Ethics

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