Canada Basketball is committed to ensuring that basketball is used to unify Canadians and our communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
While basketball, as a sport, is often applauded for representing the cultural mosaic of Canada, both in who plays and watches the game, the truth is that ongoing effort is required to ensure that all aspects of the sport are truly diverse, including officiating.
Since Canada Basketball launched Unified 2024 a few years ago, much work has been done to identify and understand where invisible barriers still exist in our sport, which ultimately limit opportunities for equity-deserving participants in basketball. As an organization, we are also committed to being transparent when these barriers are identified.
We must own our truths: the basketball officiating system in Canada is filled with invisible barriers limiting access and development. And we must work collaboratively to change this undeniable reality.
How we recruit, develop, evaluate, and assign officials to games across this country requires a purposeful transformation to align with our unwavering commitment to equity. Barriers in the current officiating system most often present themselves in the form of subjective selection criteria, which can leave room for both conscious and subconscious biases to impact decisions. Such biases can create a culture of nepotism and result in limited development opportunities for many officials.
By recognizing this reality, we can do the work required to make the system more equitable. Canada Basketball, working closely with the Executive Committee of the Canadian Basketball Officials Commission (CBOC), is committed to improving the basketball officiating culture in Canada.
There is no doubt that purposeful improvements have been made in recent months through a commitment by many volunteers, staff and brave advocates, to establish a more diverse and inclusive officiating environment. However, following the recent selection process for upcoming national competitions, both Canada Basketball and the CBOC recognize more work is necessary to eliminate the remaining systemic barriers.
With guidance from a third-party equity advisor, both groups will now focus on transforming the evaluation processes for competition selection and the National Officials Certification Program (NOCP), to support officials’ development. Members of the officials community across Canada will be presented with new criteria and processes, which will aim to remove the impact of subjectivity, prior to the CBOC’s upcoming Annual General Meeting in May, with revised criteria and processes to be effective immediately upon approval.
Across sport, policies and processes need on-going review and revision so that people can act with an intentional purpose to foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This will not be the end of our work to foster more equity in all basketball systems in Canada, but it will be another important step towards meaningful change.
Those wishing to contribute to the development of a system framework free of barriers, are encouraged to contact Moyo Omole (email@example.com), Manager of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion with Canada Basketball. Let’s keep working together, with purpose.