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Combative Sports

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Resolution Category: 
Provincial Scope 7
Red Deer, City of
Active Clauses: 

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the provincial government to create a provincial commission to sanction combative sports events throughout the Province of Alberta.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS there is public interest in the operation of, attendance at and participation in combative sports events in Alberta;

WHEREAS section 535.1 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) contemplates the establishment of a commission by bylaw for the sanctioning of combative sports;

WHEREAS several communities in Alberta have established commissions;

WHEREAS there appears to be little coordination or consistency amongst the existing commissions throughout Alberta;

WHEREAS there are inherent risks to the operation and regulation of combative sports events that warrant a more detailed and coordinated approach;

WHEREAS there is a responsibility to provide oversight to combative sporting events that sets ethical and safety standards;

WHEREAS the regulation and sanctioning of combative sports is not a core local government function or service; and

WHEREAS other provinces in Canada have created commissions at the provincial level.

Resolution Background: 

This resolution was originally introduced by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in 2013. While the AUMA adopted the resolution, in 2014 Tourism, Parks and Recreation provided the following response:

It is more appropriate for municipalities to make this determination at a local level through knowing the community and available resources. The response also indicated that these combative sports events should be guided by rules and standards for each particular sport that are developed and monitored by various provincial, national and international oversight bodies.

The AUMA rejected this response, however, this resolution has now expired.

Similar to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, The City of Red Deer over the past two decades has received requests and statements of interest from the public, expressing desire to hold and attend combative sports events, such as mixed martial arts events.

Alberta is the only province in the country without a combative sport commission. This has been a matter of ongoing advocacy my many municipalities including the City of Edmonton, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and The City of Red Deer.

Alberta's Municipal Government Act (MGA), specifically section 535.1, makes some provision for the establishment of a municipal combative sports commission through bylaw. At the present time, there are combative sports commissions in Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Cold Lake and Penhold. The bylaws in place vary significantly from one municipality to another, which means that there is no coordination or consistency in the regulation of events throughout the province.

AUMA Notes: 
  • letter enclosing the resolution has been forwarded to the Minister responsible. Once AUMA receives a response, further action will be taken as required.
  • This resolution is consistent with AUMA’s past advocacy on this issue via a 2013 resolution, which has expired. The province did not change its position and continued to indicate that this is a matter appropriate for local decision making.
AUMA Comments: 
Waiting for government response