Canadian Sport Instute


The 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and its impact on the Canadian Anti-Doping Program

By Justin MacNeill, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport
The full version of this article was originally published in the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) newsletter In the Neutral Zone (October 2014)

In 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) initiated the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) to promote a level international playing field for all athletes. Acceptance and implementation of the Code is a requirement for any sport and country who wishes to participate in the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, world championships or other major games.

Compliant with the Code and all international standards, the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) is the set of rules that govern doping control in Canada. It describes how the program is carried out and details the process of results management.

"Canadians tell us they want sport to be ethical and fair for all athletes," said Paul Melia, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). "These are the values on which the CADP is built. As the custodian of Canada's anti-doping initiative, the CCES works to create an environment that matches the expectations of Canadians and upholds the standards of the Code."

Consultation on the existing Code began in late 2011 calling for comments from all stakeholders. On January 1, 2015, an updated version of the Code came into effect, reflecting more than 2000 changes between this edition and the 2009 edition of the Code. The main goal of the revised 2015 Code is to strengthen the global fight against doping and to protect the integrity of sport.

"The CCES welcomes the changes to the Code as they will ultimately serve to protect, not only the health of our athletes, but also the entire Canadian sport community and its many stakeholders who share our passion for clean sport," said Melia.

Below are 10 important areas that have been revised in the 2015 CADP and summarized here.

  1. 1) Increased sanctions – Article 10
    - Sanctions for the violations of presence, use and possession will increase from two to four years, with the possibility of a reduction to two years in certain circumstances if the conduct was not intentional.

  2. 2) New violations – Article 2
    - The text for the violation for complicity has been expanded to include "assisting" and "conspiring" involving an anti-doping rule violation, as well as the prohibition of participation during a period of ineligibility.
    - Prohibited Association, which prohibits athletes and other people from associating with any athlete support person who is serving a period of ineligibility.

  3. 3) Updates to "strikes" – Article 20
    - Athletes accumulate a "strike" for a missed test or a whereabouts submission failure. Once an athlete has accumulated three "strikes" within a given timeframe, they may face an anti-doping rule violation.
    - The rules around the timeframe will change so that "strikes" will now be kept on an athlete's record for a rolling period of 12 months rather than 18 months.

  4. 4) Statute of limitations increased – Article 17
    - The statute of limitations has increased from 8 years to 10 years, meaning anti-doping rule violations can be determined up to 10 years after its occurrence.

  5. 5) Public disclosure – Article 14
    - Public disclosure of an anti-doping rule violation will occur for every violation unless the violation involves a minor, in which case the CCES has discretion to not release the name based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

  6. 6) Introduction of the National Athlete Pool (NAP) – Article 1
    - The CCES will work with national sport organizations to identify athletes for the NAP. Everyone in the NAP will be considered to be a national-level athlete. Anti-doping education is mandatory for all athletes in the NAP.

  7. 7) New rules for therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) – Article 4
    - All national-level athletes will require a TUE. This means that most athletes will be required to go through the full TUE process in order to use prohibited substances or methods for medically justified reasons. However, there will be expanded opportunities to obtain a TUE with retroactive effect.

  8. 8) Medical reviews – Article 4
    - Medical reviews will no longer be permitted for national-level athletes. They will only be permitted for student-athletes.
    - A student-athlete is an individual who is an athlete and a student competing in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and/or Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) sport activities and who is not in the National Athlete Pool for any sport.

  9. 9) Increased focus on intelligence-gathering – Article 5
    - The increasing role of investigations is reflected in a number of Code amendments. Investigations into possible anti-doping rule violations by teammates and the entourage of managers, coaches and trainers will be mandatory when an athlete has an adverse analytical finding.
    - The new Athlete Contract includes a clause regarding the provision of information from law enforcement authorities to CCES. For further details, the FAQ Regarding CCES Receiving Information from Law Enforcement is available at

  10. 10) New Technical Document for mandatory testing – Article 6
    - The Technical Document on Sport-Specific Analysis will provide mandatory minimum levels of testing that must be carried out in certain sports and disciplines for specific substances, such as erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH).

For more revisions and information about the 2015 CADP, including the final version, please visit: