Code of Conduct

Solo Swims of Ontario has a code of conduct and ethics that we will honour in our work with you, and that we ask you to respect as well. We invite you to look over the full statement below. Many of the items will seem like common sense: treat each other with kindness and respect, and observe the norms of marathon swimming. These swims, however, are long and demanding: they’ll take a toll on you and your support team (and of course on us). When waves are crashing and both swimmer and crew are exhausted after long hours on the open water, that’s when we all need to remember the things that seemed so obvious back on shore! We’ll do our best to honour these standards under the most demanding conditions, and we ask you and your team to do the same.

SSO Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy (last revised: April 2021)


1. The following terms will have these meanings in this document:

a) “Individuals”- All individuals engaged in activities with Solo Swims of Ontario, including but not limited to, board members, swimmers, volunteers, coaches, captains, and crew.

b) “Camaraderie”- Respect for others, for property and equipment, and honouring the history and spirit of marathon swimming.

c) “SSO” – Refers to Solo Swims of Ontario, Inc.

d) “Code” and “Policy” - refer to this Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy.


2. The benefits and privileges of SSO participation are balanced by responsibilities and obligations described in this Code, which identifies standards of behaviour expected of all Individuals.


3. The purpose of this Code is to clarify expectations of appropriate behaviour, consistent with the values of SSO, that ensure a safe and positive environment within SSO programs, activities and events.

4. Conduct that violates this Code may result in dismissal from SSO activities, including restrictions on future participation with SSO.

Application of this Policy

5. This Policy applies to conduct that may arise during the course of SSO’s business, activities, and events, including but not limited to marathon swims, open water events, training camps and related events, workshops, travel, and meetings.

6. This Policy may also apply to conduct outside of SSO business and events when such conduct threatens the safety of SSO events, or undermines the effectiveness of SSO as a safety and ratifying body for marathon swimming, including reputational concerns.


7. SSO is committed to a respectful and inclusive environment. To this end, all Individuals have a responsibility to:

Ethical conduct, including respect for the dignity and self-esteem of all Individuals by:

  1. Demonstrating respect to Individuals regardless of body type, physical characteristics, athletic ability, sex, gender, ancestry, colour, ethnic or racial origin, nationality, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, religious beliefs, political beliefs, disability, economic status or any other reason;

  2. Focusing comments or criticism appropriately, and avoiding public criticism of Individuals;

  3. Consistently demonstrating a spirit of Camaraderie that honours fellow participants, SSO, and the rules, norms, and traditions of marathon and open water swimming:

    1. caring and respecting the property and assets of SSO and all Individuals;

    2. consistently treating Individuals fairly and with respect;

    3. ensuring that the rules of Open Water and Marathon Swimming, and the spirit of such rules, are adhered to.

  4. Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an Individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading or malicious. Types of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:

    1. Written or verbal abuse, threats, or outbursts;

    2. Display of visual material which can reasonably be expected to offend;

    3. Unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendos or taunts;

    4. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures;

    5. Condescending or patronizing behaviour intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish performance, or adversely affect working conditions;

    6. Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance;

    7. Any form of hazing;

    8. Unwanted physical contact (unrelated to emergency safety measures); or

    9. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an Individual who reports harassment.

  5. Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

    1. Sexist jokes;

    2. Display of sexually offensive material;

    3. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person;

    4. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life;

    5. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;

    6. Persistent unwanted contact; or

    7. Sexual assault.

  6. Refrain from the use of power or authority in an attempt to coerce another person to engage in any inappropriate activities.

  7. Take reasonable steps to manage the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or legal maraijuana products at SSO social events

  8. Not consume any alcohol or drugs at any SSO sporting event.

  9. Abstain from non-medical possession or use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods.

  10. Comply at all times with the Bylaws, policies, rules and regulations of SSO as adopted and amended from time to time, with any contracts or agreements executed with or by SSO, and any directives or sanctions imposed by SSO.

Board/Committee Members

8. In addition to section 7 above, Board Members of SSO will:

  1. Respect the rights, dignity, and worth of everyone they engage with on behalf of SSO.

  2. Conduct oneself openly, professionally, lawfully, and in good faith in the best interests of SSO.

  3. Be transparent about conflicts of interest involving other memberships or affiliations, and resign if these conflicts cannot be resolved.

  4. Behave with decorum appropriate to both circumstance and position.

  5. Be fair, equitable, considerate and honest in all dealings with others.

  6. Respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.

  7. Ensure that all Members/registrants are given sufficient opportunity to express opinions, and that all opinions are given due consideration and weight.

  8. Respect the decisions of the majority and resign if unable to do so.

  9. Commit the time to attend meetings and to be diligent in one's preparation for and participation in discussions at such meetings.

  10. Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all SSO governance documents including, but not limited to:

    1. SSO By-Laws

    2. SSO policies and procedures stated in the SSORI

    3. Roles and responsibilities of Board Members and volunteers

  11. Meet the highest standards of integrity and suitability so that the swimming community is satisfied it has minimized the risk of an unsafe environment.


9. Where an Individual issues a complaint about any person or issue, they should confidentially communicate this immediately to a board member.

  1. The Board member will accept the complaint, discuss the matter with the complainant, and resolve the issue at that time if possible. If the issue cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant in this manner, or they are unsatisfied with the response of the Board member, then the complaint should be put in writing by the Individual, or the consulted board member if agreed, notifying the SSO Board President.

  2. All complaints, received in any form, should be noted by the board member concerned and communicated to the Board in a timely manner, even if the issue is resolved immediately.

  3. If a complaint remains outstanding after these steps, or if the resolution is deemed unsatisfactory by the involved Individuals, then an appeal may be initiated.


10. In cases described by 9(c), the SSO board President will, in consultation with the board, establish a sub-committee to consider the appeal.

  1. Upon formation, the sub-committee will establish a clear schedule for timely judgement.

  2. Consistent with the expectations detailed in (8), members of the sub-committee will review the appeal in light of the original complaint and proposed remedies from (9) and against the considerations detailed in (7).

  3. The sub-committee will then meet to discuss their deliberations and prepare a report to the full Board, detailing the merits of the appeal and, if necessary, proposing further remedies.

  4. Consistent with (b), the President will solicit further comments from the full board and ask for a vote on a judgement, following which the President will deliver the report and decision to the complainant.