There have been efforts throughout Canada to mandate concussion education and management protocols, particularly in sport organizations and schools. Some jurisdictions are taking the approach of legislation, while others are moving to implementing policies governing concussion.
Ontario became the first province in Canada to enact legislation around concussion when Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety) was given royal assent in March 2018 after receiving all-party support.
The law establishes mandatory requirements that call for:
- Annual review of concussion awareness resources by athletes, parents, coaches and other designated individuals.
- A concussion code of conduct, reviewed by athletes, parents, and other designated individuals, to set out rules of behaviour to minimize concussions while participating in sport.
- Removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols, to ensure that an athlete is immediately removed from sport if they are suspected of having sustained a concussion, and that appropriate processes are in place to guide their safe return to training and competition.
The awareness and code of conduct requirements came into effect July 1, 2019. The protocol requirement came into effect January 1, 2022.
Rowan’s Law also establishes the last Wednesday in September as “Rowan’s Law Day” in the province of Ontario. The purpose of Rowan’s Law Day is to increase concussion education awareness, especially in schools.
In 2017, Bill 37, The Concussion in Youth Sport Act, was introduced in the Manitoba provincial legislature. Bill 37 proposed requirements for removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols in sport organizations and schools, as well as improved concussion awareness education, particularly for coaches. The bill did not proceed to second reading.
Ontario Policy/Program Memorandum No. 158
In 2014, Ontario’s Ministry of Education issued PPM 158, requiring every school board to establish and maintain a policy on concussion. With the passing of Rowan’s Law, PPM 158 was updated in 2019. School board policies are required to include, at minimum, the following components: awareness; prevention; identification; management procedures for a diagnosed concussion; and, ongoing training for staff and volunteers.
Québec Concussion Management Protocol
Québec’s Ministry of Education introduced its Concussion Management Protocol in 2017 and an updated second edition in 2019. The protocol is intended intended for use by educational institutions and in the context of recreational and sports activities.
Concussion protocols for sport organizations and schools
Concussion protocols should be:
- Comprehensive, including prevention and education, through to safe return to school, work and sport activities.
- Based on the most up-to-date, evidence-based best practice and reviewed regularly.
Parachute has worked with 51 National Sport Organizations to date to create or update their concussion protocols based on the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport.