Residency Rules

Birthright Status

Birthright status will be implemented nationwide as of the 2019-20 curling season and in effect at the Brier, Tournament of Hearts and all provincial / territorial playdown events leading up to the national men’s and women’s championships.

Curling Canada has updated its residency rules to include birthright status. Athletes who have moved away from their province / territory of birth are now eligible to represent that province / territory as a bona fide resident. This means any teams can consist of one free agent and the remaining players may be bona fide residents or have birthright status. All four players can have birthright status.

This decision, made by Curling Canada operations staff after discussion with the Board of Governors and Member Association presidents, modernizes the residency rules by further aligning curling with best practices of other National Sport Organizations and helps Canadian teams remain in contention for the podium at international events.

This small adjustment to the residency rules provides athletes with more flexibility in their personal and professional lives, while also continuing to chase their athletic goals. For example, an athlete can move away from their birth province / territory for an employment opportunity or personal reasons and still dream of representing the province / territory where they were born. This scenario is especially true of young adults who move away from home for post-secondary education and build new lives after graduation but still remain connected to the province / territory they were born.

Member Associations spend a lot of time, money and resources to develop youth athletes. The update to the rules means those young curlers can pursue men’s and women’s championships in the region they were born, even if they move away. This provides more value for an Member Association’s youth development program.

To read more about this update from Curling Canada, click here.

Birthright FAQ

Q: What is birthright status?

A: Birthright status allows a curler to represent the province or territory they were born in, even if they move away. For example, a curler who is born in province/territory/Northern Ontario “A” and moves to province/territory “B” will be eligible to compete for province/territory “A” as a bona fide resident and not require free agent status. Birthright applies to the province/territory/Northern Ontario the curler was born in, even if they move to a new province/territory shortly after.

Q: What if I am Canadian but was not born in Canada (for example, a military base in another country)?

A: You would not be eligible for the Birthright Status unless you can provide the government letter noted in bullet 3) under Birthright Special Circumstances.

Q: What requirements do I need to meet for birthright status?

A: You must meet the following criteria to claim birthright status:

  • Be born in the province/territory/Northern Ontario you are claiming birthright status; and,
  • Be a member in good standing of a curling club in that province/territory/Northern Ontario and compete in its men’s or women’s playdown process; and,
  • compete in its men’s or women’s playdown process; and,
  • have a valid passport or birth certificate proving your birthplace for submission to the Member Association where you are claiming birthright; and,
    you must be a bona-fide resident of Canada to be eligible to claim birthright status.

Q: What events can I claim Birthright Status?

A: Only the Tournament of Hearts and Brier and all provincial / territorial playdowns leading up to those events. For example, you may not claim Birthright to play in the Seniors. Also, athletes who claim birthright status in the men’s or women’s competition are ineligible to compete in another province / territory’s men’s or women’s playdowns during the same season.

Q: How many players on my team may claim Birthright Exemption?

A: Anywhere from zero (0) to five (5)

Q: How do I have my birthright status approved?

A: You will need to submit a photocopy of a valid birth certificate or Canadian passport to prove your eligibility to Curling Canada.

Q: Can an athlete who claims the birthright status still compete in playdowns for other events such as mixed / mixed doubles / seniors, etc., for the province / territory where they reside?

A: Yes, an athlete can claim the birthright status for the Brier or Tournament of Hearts competitions, and still compete in at other events in the province / territory where they reside. Birthright, however, does not grant you residency in your birth province or territory.

Q: How long does birthright status last?

A: Birthright is claimed year-to-year, meaning a curler may compete in their birthright jurisdiction during the 2019-20 curling season and switch to the province / territory where they reside in the following season. In other words, a player is not obligated to commit to their birthright status for a set period of time.

Q: What if I was born in a city bordering two provinces or territories?

A: Canadians born in border towns such as Lloydminster (which has geographical boundaries in both Saskatchewan and Alberta) will be assigned a ‘home’ Member Association based on the province / territory indicated on their government documentation (birth certificate or passport).

Q: Where is the dividing line between Ontario and Northern Ontario?

A: The current Ontario and Northern Ontario border for curling will determine if a player was born in Northern Ontario or Ontario (any disputes will be resolved by Curling Canada). If the town or city where the athlete was born has a curling club, then they will be considered as born in the affiliation of that club.  If the town or city of birth does not have a curling club, they will be assigned to the member association with the closest affiliated club to their birth town / city.

Birthright Special Circumstances:

  1. A player born before April 1, 1999 anywhere in the Northwest Territories that is now considered part of the Territory of Nunavut may claim birthright for either the Northwest Territories or Nunavut. If a player chooses one or the other Territory will determine a player’s Territory of birth for their career.
  2. A player born in the Territory of Nunavut on April 1, 1999 or later may claim birthright for Nunavut only.
  3. Often mothers are transferred to a bigger hospital / clinic in another province or territory by doctor’s orders or to be close to family support. The birth certificate in this case would note the province or territory of the hospital / clinic where they were born. A player may provide a letter from the provincial / territorial health care provider (of the mother’s residence) indicating that when they were born, they had health care coverage from the said province / territory of their mother’s residence. The player will be granted birthright status in this case. If you cannot provide the letter, you may not claim Birthright for the province / territory where your mother lived but may claim Birthright based on your birth certificate. Canadian citizens not born in Canada will not be eligible for this option unless they can provide the government letter.
  4. Full-time students in good standing attending a recognized post-secondary educational institute, may play in one (1) of these four (4) jurisdictions in the Tournament of Hearts or Brier:
    • for the province or territory where they are attending school; or,
    • for the province or territory where they maintain their residence of record; or,
    • for the province or territory where they were born; or,
    • for any province or territory as a Free Agent.
      Note: students may be required to provide proof of registration and academic standing.

Curling Canada