Referee’s Corner – Pickleball Canada Officiating Program Change Announcement

June 13, 2024

Alan Thomson



The last SCOOP officiating article explained the proposed changes to the program, and in this article, we are confirming and highlighting some of those changes.

The most important change for ALL Credentialed Referees will be the mandatory annual Maintenance Program. The intent of the maintenance program is to help ensure that all Referees are keeping themselves practiced & current.

ALL credentialed Referees will have to record the number of matches Refereed, distinguishing between Tournament and Recreational matches. Review online documentation, especially the Rules, Casebook and best practices contained in the Officiating Handbook, and of course take the online quizzes to ensure your understanding of that information is correct.

Another big change to the program is the expiration of credentials, 3 years from the date of issue. As each official approaches the date of expiration they will also be required to undergo a short test of knowledge and best practices. These tests will be tailored to the level of credentials held.

All members, including Officials must comply with the Pickleball Canada ‘Code of Conduct.’ Suspected breaches and concerns will be administered by the PC Executive Director and when involving officials the National Leader of Officiating will be consulted to recommend an investigating team… Case Manager & member.

The Compliance Standards policy is being introduced to administer any Officiating performance concerns, and like all the above items, can be and should be read in detail on the PC website…

USA Pickleball is again revising their assessment and Advanced Training Session (ATS) processes and to ensure that our program achieves the desired results we will be moving from the PC Referee Assessment Form (RAF) to the Tiered Referee Rating From (TRR) which is more objective in its methodology.

The ATS is the last step in a long process leading to Evaluation and to help increase the candidate’s success rate the procedures are changing.

  • The ATS is to be (only) lead by a trained ATSA (assessor).
  • Should be assisted by 2 other CR’s and should NOT include the trainer or mentor.
    • Nor related, or seen to be in a conflict-of-interest situation.
  • A written exam will be administered prior to the ATS.
  • The candidate’s mentor will recommend them for the ATS when they determine there is a strong likelihood of success.

NOTE: All Credentialed Referees will soon receive an email inviting them to a Zoom discussion and training session to review these changes. We will hold two sessions to try and accommodate different schedules across the many time zones. Timing will be determined by the receipt of the new TRR.

On another newsworthy front, Pickleball Canada Credentialed Referees can now join the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). Besides offering numerous benefits, this membership will solidify you as a “Professional Referee” just like many North American sports Officials, whether it be NHL Hockey, NBA Basketball, NFL Football, and all the other sports including those at the university & college level.

Member Benefits:

  • General Liability Insurance Protection – $6 Million
  • Member Information & Consulting Program
  • Referee Magazine – Electronic & Monthly
  • Assault Protection Program – $30,500
  • Assigners Insurance – $100,000
  • Game Call Coverage – $100,000
  • NASO Member Apps
  • Digital Referee Magazine
  • Advocating on Critical Issues Impacting Sports Officiating
  • Major Buying Discounts – Marriott Athletic VIP Card


PC would like to congratulate Andrea Blackwell, Kingston ON, who successfully passed her evaluation to Certified Referee at the APP Vlasic Classic in Cincinnati. This makes Andrea Canada’s 27th Certified Referee, where we also have 115 Level 2’s & 127 Level 1’s, giving Canada a total of 269 active credentialed Referees.


Please note that effective immediately, the following selected JOOLA paddle models are no longer USA Pickleball Approved, and therefore not to be used for play in sanctioned tournaments.

Which JOOLA paddles are affected?

  • Tyson McGuffin Magnus 3 14mm
  • Tyson McGuffin Magnus 3 16mm
  • Collin Johns Scorpeus 3 16mm
  • Anna Bright Scorpeus 3 14mm
  • Simone Jardim Hyperion 3 16mm
  • Ben Johns Hyperion 3 16mm
  • Ben Johns Hyperion 3 14mm
  • Ben Johns Perseus 3 14mm
  • Ben Johns Perseus 3 14mm
  • Ben Johns Perseus 3 16mm
  • Perseus Alpha 2024 16mm
  • Perseus Alpha 2024 14mm
  • Magnus Alpha 2024 16mm
  • Magnus Alpha 2024 14mm
  • Hyperion Alpha 2024 16mm
  • Hyperion Alpha 2024 14mm
  • Scorpeus Alpha 2024 16mm
  • Scorpeus Alpha 2024 14mm

OWL Paddles

There have been several questions regarding the OWL paddle and whether it is an approved paddle. OWL has seven approved models but does not have the model identified anywhere on the paddle. Referees will need to check the approved paddle list carefully to determine each paddle in use against the approved list which displays graphics and model designation. To resolve the issue, the manufacture has stickers which contain the model designation, and they are to be affixed to the butt end of the paddle handle.