Sanctioning Overview

A Sanctioned Tournament is one which, upon request from the Tournament Director, has been endorsed by Pickleball Canada as meeting standards defined by the International Federation of Pickleball and Pickleball Canada. To be ‘sanctioned’ by Pickleball Canada means an event meets those standards, is well-organized, fair and safe for competitors, and follows the rules and regulations set by the governing bodies.

Purposes of Sanctioning

  • To standardize the operation of pickleball tournaments across Canada;
  • To challenge tournament organizers to host top quality events that will showcase pickleball to the membership of Pickleball Canada, the public and the media;
  • To ensure that tournaments are delivered in a safe and developmentally appropriate fashion consistent with the Long Term Development Plan approved by Sport Canada and Pickleball Canada;

Benefits of a Sanctioned Tournament

For the Tournament

  • Posting the Tournament on the Sanctioned Tournament Calendar on the Pickleball Canada website
  • Use of the Pickleball Canada Sanctioned Logo for promotion of tournament
  • Support, when required, from the PCO Tournament Chair
  • General liability insurance for the event and certificate of insurance
  • Increased participation because the tournament is recognized as a high quality experience
  • Public acknowledgement that your tournament supports Pickleball Canada, governing body of Pickleball in Canada.

For the Player

Criteria for Sanctioning

For a tournament to be granted sanctioning the tournament director must follow the application process and abide by all sanctioning requirements listed below.

The criteria for sanctioning are laid out in Section 12-Sanctioned Tournament Policies of the International Federation of Pickleball Rule Book.

Additionally,

  • All players must be Pickleball Canada members.
  • The tournament cannot be on the same dates as another sanctioned tournament in that Province/Territory or conflict with a Regional Championship within the region.
  • The Tournament Director (TD) must complete and submit a Pickleball Canada Tournament Sanctioning Application at least 60 days prior to the scheduled event.
  • The TD must follow all IFP Official Tournament Rules.
  • The TD must declare the make and model of the ball that will be used. The ball must be listed on the IFP/PCO list of Approved Balls.
  • The TD must ensure the safety conditions outlined in the Tournament Director’s Guide are followed.
  • Once provisional sanctioning is granted, the sanctioning fee must be paid, in order for the tournament to receive formal sanctioning and be promoted as a Sanctioned Tournament.
  • The tournament must use a Pickleball Canada-approved tournament management system.
  • Within one week of the end of a tournament, complete results must be reported to the PCO Tournament Chair.
  • A Sanctioned Tournament must have a minimum of 40 or more entries. Entries are defined as one doubles team or one singles player. 
  • The tournament shall be open to all players who meet the general requirements of any tournament, such as age or skill level. Entries may be limited by geographical locations such as city, county, regional, or province of residency.
  • Wheelchair Players – In accordance with the requirements of the Canadian Human Rights Act, Pickleball Canada will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities. Rules for wheelchair players are in the IFP Rulebook.
  • A TD who applies for  and receives sanctioning, agrees to meet and abide by all the sanctioning requirements.
  • Officiating – all matches at Tier I and Tier II sanctioned tournaments should be officiated and should have line judges for medal matches.

Pickleball Canada Right of Refusal

Pickleball Canada reserves the right to refuse to sanction tournaments, list tournaments on the Pickleball Canada website/calendar, or accept advertising where a tournament director has:

  • Not complied with Pickleball Canada policies or rules
  • Disparaged Pickleball Canada
  • Created deceptive or confusing forms, advertising or promotional materials wrongly implying or stating Pickleball Canada involvement in the tournament or making other factual misstatements that could mislead players on significant matters. This includes duplicating major Pickleball Canada tournament names, using terms such as Canadian, National, Regional, or where Pickleball Canada deems the term is in direct conflict with an existing Pickleball Canada event.

Tournament Tiers and Sanctioning Fees

Tier I – National Tournament  – Reserved for Pickleball Canada National and Regional Tournaments

Tier II ($100) – Provincial Tournaments – Reserved for Large Provincial Events.   Tier 2 tournaments must have a minimum of 100 entries  and at least 8 entries per event

Tier III ($75) – Local Tournaments –The requirements for a Tier III are as follows:

  • If under 100 entries, there must be an average of at least 7 entries per event
  • If 100 or over entries, there must be an average of at least 6 entries per event
  • If 200 or over entries, the must be an average of at least 5 entries per event.

Tier IV ($50) – Small or New Tournaments – The tournament must have at least 40 entries.  Most new tournaments will be given a Tier IV rating until the number of entries and number of entries per event can be establish upon the completion of the tournament.

Fees are due when the Tournament receives provisional sanctioning from the Pickleball Canada Tournament Chair.  Once the fees are received the Tournament Director will receive Sanctioning Logos, be granted formal sanctioning and the tournament will be placed on the Pickleball Canada Tournament Calendar.

Approved Age and Skill Events

Age Determination

  1. A Player’s age for the entire tournament year shall be determined by his/her age on December 31st of the tournament year in question.
  2. There are three major age groupings:
    • Juniors -18 and under,
    • Adults -19 & over (Junior players may also play in this grouping), and
    • Seniors (50+).

Rated Events

  1. A RATED event is open to players of any age, including Juniors, Adults, and Seniors. A Senior Rated event is open only to players who are 50+.
  2.  In any Pickleball Canada Rated event, players are asked to rate themselves if they do not have a Pickleball Canada rating. However, the Tournament Director has the final decision on where self-rated or unrated players are placed. Rated players may only be placed in a different division by the Tournament Director with the player’s permission or if events have to be combined. In Rated events, a player may NOT play in an event rated lower but may play in one rated higher.
  3. An OPEN event is one that is open to any player with no age or rating restriction.

Events by Age

Juniors

  • Boys and Girls
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, 18 and under

Adults

  • Men and Women
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • 19 and over (19+), 35 and over (35+)

Seniors

  • Men and Women
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • 50 and over (50+), 55 and over (55+), 60 and over (60+), 65 and over (65+), 70 and over (70+), 75 and over (75+), 80 and over (80+)

Events by Skill

  • Men and Women
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • Open, Seniors
  • 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0

Combining Age/Skill or Skill/Age

  1. Combined Age/Skill Events consist of Approved Age Groups divided by Approved Skill Levels. It is skill level within age groups.
    1. Skill Levels within each Age Group can be merged by the Tournament Director as needed. As an example, 19+ 3.5 may be combined with 19+ 4.0. This would be a 19+/4.0 event. When possible, it is recommended that TD’s combine 3.0/3.5 and 4.0/4.5/5.0, but if there are not enough registrations for this to be possible, they may combine as needed.
    2. 50 and over events may be in 5, 10 or 15 year age increments as needed (50+, 60+, 70+, 80+ or 55+,60+,65+,70+,75+,80+).
    3. Any player or team in an age/skill tournament requesting to play up in a skill level higher than their rating must be allowed to do so.
    4. Any player or team in an age/skill tournament requesting to play down in age group must be allowed to do so. For example, a player or team with a 3.5 rating and with the youngest player 64 years old may enter any skill level above 3.5 and any age bracket that is lower than 65+.
  2. Combined Skill/Age Events consist of Approved Skill Levels broken down into Approved Age Groups. It is age groups within skill levels.
    1. Age levels within each skill group can be merged by the Tournament Director as needed. As an example, 2.5 19+ may be combined with 2.5 35+. This would be a 2.5/35+ event. When possible, we recommend that TD’s combine 19+ and 35+; 50+ and 60+; 70+ on up. Note: If there are not enough registrations for this to be possible, they may combine as needed.
    2. Any player or team in a skill/age tournament requesting to play up in a skill level higher than their rating must be allowed to do so.
    3. Any player or team in a skill/age tournament requesting to play down in age group must be allowed to do so. For example, a player or team with a with the youngest player 64 years old and a 3.5 rating may enter any an age bracket that is lower than 65+. and/or any skill level above 3.5.