Curling Canada’s residency eligibility rules for the Brier and Tournament of Hearts – including the provincial / territorial playdown process leading up to those national championships – have been updated to include Birthright Status. This revision will be effective immediately for the 2019-20 curling season.
Canadians that have moved away from the province / territory where they were born, are now eligible to play for that province / territory under the Birthright Status. Teams may now consist of one (1) free agent and the remaining teammates can be bona fide residents or have birthright status or a combination thereof. Or all four (4) players can have Birthright Status.
Residency & eligibility rules for the Tournament of Hearts and Brier leading to their respective World Curling Federation (WCF) championships will be updated as follows:
An athlete in competition for the Tournament of Hearts or Brier:
- Must be a Canadian citizen.
- Must be a member in good standing of the same affiliated curling club. Individual Member Associations may adjust this to one or more affiliated curling clubs.
- Must not have competed for any other country in any World Curling Federation competition (at any level) the previous two curling seasons (a curling season is determined as September 1 to May 31).
- A maximum of one (1) player per team may be a Free Agent. A Free Agent is a citizen and a resident anywhere in Canada and can choose to compete in any of the fourteen (14) member associations. (Note: both affected Member Associations must approve).
- If one (1) player on a team of four (4) players is a free agent, the other three (3) players must meet one (1) of the requirements noted in a), b) or c). If a free agent is not used, all four (4) players on a team of four (4) must meet one (1) of the requirements noted in a), b) or c).
- A bona fide resident of the province / territory they intend to represent. Member Associations may allow Canadian citizens who are residents of border towns in the United States, and who are active members in good standing of affiliated Canadian curling clubs, to participate.
- Born in the province / territory in which they intend to represent. Special Circumstances:
- 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.
- 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/city of the athlete’s birth has a curling club, then they will be considered as born in the affiliation of that club. If the town/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.
- Canadian citizens not born in Canada will not be eligible for this option. For example, an athlete born as a Canadian on a military base in another country would not be eligible.
- Full-time students in good standing attending a recognized post-secondary educational institute, may curl in one (1) of these four (4) jurisdictions:
- for the province/territory where they are attending school or;
- for the province/territory where they maintain their residence of record or;
- for the province or territory where they were born;
- for any province or territory as a Free Agent.
Note: students will be required to provide proof of registration and academic standing.
- An individual may only participate in the playdown process for the Tournament of Hearts or the Brier in one (1) province or territory in any championship season.
- Where eligible, Canadians can play for different member associations year to year. For example, in 2019-2020 they play in Territory ‘A’ where they were born. Then in 2020-2021, they choose to play in the province where they reside.
- Free Agents, athletes using the birthright option, and student-athletes are allowed to participate in any other event they are eligible for in the province or territory where they reside. For example, a player residing in province ‘A’ chooses to be a free agent in province ‘B” for the Tournament of Hearts. In the same season, this player can participate in the 4-person Mixed competition for province ‘A’.
PROOF OF RESIDENCY
To ensure that all individuals are treated equally, an individual must be able to provide proof to be considered a resident for playdown purposes.
An individual claiming to be a bona fide resident of a curling province or territory whose playdown structure he or she wishes to enter, must be able to provide a minimum of three (3) of the following four (4) items to the Member Association (if requested):
- Current Driver’s Licence (or valid travel picture ID) from that province / territory;
- Current Health Care Card from that province/territory;
- Letter from employer confirming employment within the province/territory;
- Statement from landlord (if renting) or bank (if owned) confirming residency within the province / territory – a copy of a property tax invoice for non-mortgaged property is also adequate. Recommend a statutory declaration be obtained.
- In addition to providing the above documentation, an individual must spend the majority of their non-compete time in the province / territory in which they are claiming to be a bona fide resident.
To participate in any Curling Canada Championship, individuals MUST be bona fide residents of the province or territory in which they wish to enter play prior to September 1st of the year preceding the championship season. This time frame may be shortened in the following circumstances:
- Transfer due to employment
- School attendance
- Military service and transfer
Exemptions may be made in exceptional circumstances if granted by the two (2) Member Associations affected:
- Individuals live within a short distance of a provincial / territorial boundary;
- Individuals that reside in province / territory “A” and conduct the majority of their work outside of province / territory “A”, may represent province / territory “A” on the assumption that they can validate that the majority of their non-work and non-train/compete time is spent in province / territory “A”.
- Individuals that have a primary residence in province / territory “A”, a temporary / secondary residence in province / territory “B”, and who conduct the majority of their work in province territory “B”, may represent province / territory “B” on the assumption that they can validate that the majority of their work related time is spent in province / territory “B”. The individual must be able to provide positive proof that their predominant employment from September 1st to May 31st of the curling season the exemption is being requested, will be located with the geographical area of the Member Association they wish to represent.
PROOF OF BIRTH
The athlete will produce a valid birth certificate or valid passport.
PROOF OF ACADEMIC STANDING
A student will be requested to provide proof of registration and academic standing.
PROCESS FOR EXEMPTION REQUESTS FOR RESIDENCY OPTION
- Exemption requests must be received by Curling Canada and the respective Member Associations, a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the Member Association’s deadline for entry to the first stage of the championship in question.
- Detailed information noted in Proof of Residency will be required with the exemption request.
- The respective Member Associations will review all information and approve or deny the application.
- If Member Associations cannot agree on a decision, a committee that includes the following three individuals will make the decision and their ruling will be considered final:
- Chief Executive Officer, Curling Canada
- Director, High Performance, Curling Canada
- Vice-Chair of the Operations Advisory Council (must be an Executive Director of one of the fourteen (14) Member Associations.
- Individuals who have employment in two (2) curling jurisdictions may be required to participate in a formal interview that will include the identified employer, a representative of the Member Associations and the Director, High Performance, Curling Canada.
- Individuals that meet exemption criteria will be considered bona fide residents of the province / territory granting the exemption. They are not considered free agents.
In the case when a team enters the Provincial / Territorial Canadian Championship playdown process and is found not to be in compliance with the residency rules, the entire team risks being suspended for one (1) year from Curling Canada and Member Association sanctioned events. Suspension shall only be implemented subsequent to due process and it is determined that residency and/or exemption related information has been provided in a fraudulent manner.
PROCESS FOR RESIDENCY CHALLENGES
It is understood that the residency rules will be national in scope and, in the event the rules are challenged, Curling Canada will assist in the defense of any challenge at the Member Association level and/or protect Curling Canada’s interest and its costs, as the Associations mutually deem appropriate. Note: there is not a process to challenge birthright or student enrollment.
Curling Canada’s “whereabouts” program will be implemented as required to provide confirmation that a team member is in compliance with established residency and/or exemption criteria and to ensure all related documentation / statements that the individual has provided are valid.
The protocol for the “whereabouts” program is as follows:
- It is brought to the attention of a Member Association that a team member(s) may not be compliant with the residency / exemption criteria.
- If the Member Association is in agreement, they shall work together with Curling Canada in an effort to establish confirmation that the individual is compliant.
- The individual(s) shall be contacted and asked to confirm that the documentation / statements provided are accurate / valid and to establish that they are aware of the potential consequence of having provided fraudulent documents and/or statements.
- The Member Association and Curling Canada shall then determine if further confirmation is warranted and if so, the Director, High Performance will implement Curling Canada’s Whereabouts Program.
- The individual will be contacted and requested to participate in Curling Canada’s Whereabouts Program and their team will be advised. Failure to grant approval will result in the individual being deemed not to be in compliance.
- The whereabouts program is intended to establish the exact location of the individual on a 24/7 basis and therefore the individual must be a willing participant in providing proof positive as to the credibility of their claim to be in compliance with the residency rules.
- The Whereabouts Program will make use of any reasonable means possible and available to establish that the individual in question is in fact in compliance with the residency rules. This will be done with the approval of the individual in question. Failure to grant approval will result in the individual being deemed not to be in compliance.
If it is established that the individual is deemed not to be in compliance, they will be provided the opportunity to participate in Curling Canada’s Appeal Process, which will be implemented in a timely manner by the Director, High Performance.