Quebec gov’t confirms amateur MMA technically illegal in the province

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

I have written many times that amateur combative sports not on the “programme of the International Olympic Committee” are illegal in Canada unless Provinces pass laws specifying otherwise pursuant to the powers given to them by s. 83 of the Criminal Code.

Despite this reality, some Provinces have failed to enact appropriate laws and turn a blind eye to illegal combative sports. Quebec and Ontario are perhaps the most noteworthy examples. This leaves local promoters with a tough choice, they can let their competitors secure a stranglehold on the marketplace or risk criminal prosecution if they choose to participate in the sports as well.

One Quebec-based promoter, perplexed by the apparent discrepancy has pressed the Government for an answer about whether any organizations have received proper legal authority to oversee amateur kickboxing and Muay Thai events in La belle Province.

In short, the Government replied “No.”

Here is the Ministry’s full reply (crudely translated via Google)

To date, the Lieutenant Governor in Council of the Province of Quebec has not designated any sport or permitted any combat sport games as permitted by section 83 of the Criminal Code. For the purposes of paragraph (a), I would point out that karate is a combat sport covered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) program for the Tokyo Games in 2020.

In Quebec, work is continuing on government intervention using the powers of the provinces under section 83 of the Criminal Code.

Cordial greetings,

Michel Fafard
Director of Safety Promotion Recreation and Sports Sector Ministry of Education and Higher Education
100 Laviolette Street, Suite 213 Trois-Rivières, Quebec G9A 5S9
Phone: 819-371-6033 or 1-800-567-7902, ext. 4434 or 4425
Fax: 819-371-6992 Email: mfafard@education.gouv.qc.ca Web site: www.education.gouv.qc.ca

Like Ontario, Quebec recognizes various Provincial Sport Organizations including some involved in combative sports. A PSO that is ‘recognized’ by the Government is basically in a position to receive public funding. Recognition does little more than this and does not meet the clear requirements for legalization set out in the Criminal Code.

It is also interesting that the reply suggests amateur Karate contests are ok. Karate is on the IOC’s program for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics on a provisional basis. If Quebec’s interpretation is accurate then, as previously discussed, amateur Karate contests are legal Canada-wide with the exception of Provinces that have passed laws specifying otherwise.

Author Erik Magraken is a British Columbia litigation lawyer, combat sports law consultant, founder of the Combat Law Sports Blog, and profoundly appreciated UGer.