Sanctioned Tournaments

A Sanctioned Tournament is one which, upon request from the Tournament Director, has been endorsed by Pickleball Canada (PCO) as meeting standards defined by the international rules 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 optimize 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 Canadian Sport for Life Society and Pickleball Canada;
  • To provide a fair and consistent competitive environment that affects the players’ Canadian Tournament Player Rating (CTPR);
  • To ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for players across Canada to obtain and progress their CTPR;
  • To ensure the robustness of the Canadian Tournament Player Rating (CTPR) program;
  • To ensure alignment and consistency across provinces and territories;
  • To share responsibilities between PCO and provinces/territories, where PCO sets the criteria/requirements, and the provinces/territories assist in the execution and monitoring. This includes recruiting an Affiliated Club to work with an independent tournament director, where possible.

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
  • 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. These requirements must be met prior to the date of tournament registration. It is highly recommended that sanctioned tournaments involve an Affiliated Club as either the tournament host or partner.

The criteria for sanctioning are laid out in Section 12-Sanctioned Tournament Policies of the Official Rulebook – International Edition.


  • All players must be Pickleball Canada members.
  • The tournament should avoid dates already established for other sanctioned tournaments 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 shall include a letter of support from the respective provincial/territorial pickleball organization. Support may only be withheld where there is a date conflict or concern as outlined in the Right of Refusal clause.
  • The TD must follow all 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 list of Approved Balls. Nationals and Regional Tournaments are required to use Franklin balls.
  • The TD must ensure the safety conditions outlined in the Tournament Director’s Guide are followed.
  • The TD confirms all government requirements and protocols for health and safety will be implemented and enforced for the duration of the tournament.
  • 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. Be sure to indicate the name of the tournament on the etransfer which is sent to
  • Do not open your registration prior to the update of tournament status from pending to sanctioned.
  • The tournament must use a Pickleball Canada-approved tournament management system. TD must report results to the Pickleball Brackets Ratings engine (where the CTPR resides), either automatically with Pickleball Brackets tournament software, or manually with other approved processes.
  • 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 75 participants.
  • 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 Official Rulebook – International Edition.
  • A TD who applies for and receives sanctioning, agrees to meet and abide by all the sanctioning requirements. If all sanctioning requirements are not met, consequences will be applied, up to and including results being disqualified from CTPR ratings and the host club and or TD being barred from future sanctioning requests.

Pickleball Canada Right of Refusal

Pickleball Canada reserves the right to refuse to sanction tournaments, and not list tournaments on the Pickleball Canada website/calendar if the TD/organization requesting sanctioning has failed to comply with all PCO policies, including the Pickleball Canada Policy – Code of Conduct, or has committed an infraction as defined in the Pickleball Canada Policy – Complaints and Discipline. This decision would be communicated to the applicant in writing and subject to appeal. The appeal process will follow the complaints review process outlined in the Complaints and Discipline policy.

Tournament Tiers and Sanctioning Fees

Tier 1 – National/Regional Tournaments – Reserved for Pickleball Canada National and Regional Tournaments, all matches should be officiated. It is expected that Open and Senior Open events are included.

Tier 2 ($100) – Provincial/Territorial/Qualifying/Large Tournaments – Reserved for Provincial/Territorial/Qualifying or Large tournaments. Tournaments with more than 250 players should also apply for Tier 2 status. All medal matches must be officiated. The expectation is for all non-medal matches to be officiated. It is expected that Open and Senior Open events are included.

Tier 3 ($75) – Other Tournaments –Tier 3 tournaments require a minimum of 100 participants. All medal matches must be officiated. The expectation is for all non-medal matches to be officiated.

Tier 4 ($50) – Small or New Tournaments – The tournament must have at least 75 participants. Most new tournaments will be given a Tier IV rating until the number of entries can be confirmed prior to the start of the tournament. All efforts should be made to provide a referee for medal matches.

Club member only tournaments cannot be sanctioned and do not impact CTPRs.

Fees are due when the Tournament receives provisional sanctioning from the Pickleball Canada.  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.

TierDescriptionFeeSize – /EventRefereesLine Judges or Second RefereeCTPR Weight (when implemented)
1PCO Nationals/ PCO Regionals$0Open and Senior Open included Min Level 1 for Non – Medal matches
Levels 2 / certified for Medal matches
Medal matches *
Non- Medal matches**
2Provincial/Terr Championships & Qualifying events
Large tournaments -over 250 participants
$100Avg 8 / event Open and Senior Open included  Min Level 1 for Non -Medal matches
Levels 2 / certified for Medal matches
Medal matches *
Non – Medal matches**
3Other Tournaments  $75Min 100  Min Level 2 for Medal matchesMedal matches *
Non – Medal matches**
4Small or new Tournaments$50Min 75Provide referees where possibleMedal matches ***70%


*All medal matches must be officiated

**The expectation for all matches to be officiated

***All efforts should be made to provide a referee

The Tournament Directors will follow PCO’s Officiating Program minimum payment guideline;
currently $7 for Level 1, $10 for Level 2 and $15 for Certified Referees.

Approved Scoring Options

  • The recommended tournament scoring option is best 2/3 games to 11 points, win by 2 points. 
  •  Other options include:
    • Best 2/3 games to 11 points, 1 game to 15 or 1 game to 21. All formats win by two points.
    • Round robin brackets may also use 1 game to 11, win by two points, if the bracket has six or more teams.

Approved Skill and Age Events

Skill Rated Events

  1. A skill rated event is open to players of any age, including Juniors, Adults, and Seniors. A Senior skill rated event is open only to players who are 50+.
  2. All participants in a sanctioned tournament must have a Canadian Tournament Player Rating (CTPR).
    • PCO policy on the use of CTPR must be followed for all Sanctioned Tournaments. Should both players choose to, they may play up ONLY a 0.5 rating level from their current CTPR. The only exception is for 4.5+ or Open events, where all players must have a minimum 4.5 CTPR rating to play in that event. Tournament Directors will ensure this policy is adhered to
      • If a tournament has a 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0(Open) event, a 4.0 player can play up into the 4.5 event but not into the 5.0/Open event. 5.0/Open events are for 4.5 and above skill level players only.
      • If a tournament has a 4.0 and 4.5+ event without a 5.0/Open event, a 4.0 player cannot play up into the 4.5+ event as it is for 4.5 and higher skill players only. In this case, the 4.5+ event acts in the same way as the Open.
      • Open Category – is only open to advanced players with a minimum skill level of 4.5. It is acceptable to substitute “5.0” terminology instead of “Open” if tournament directors choose to.

Combining Age/Skill

Note: Sanctioned Tournaments will not allow events to use an “and under” skill requirement (e.g Skill 4.0 and under), with the exception being for events with a skill requirement of 3.0 (where tournament directors would have the option of running a Skill 3.0 and under event, allowing players with a minimum skill of 2.0 to participate).

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 2.5/19+ event.
  2. Any player or team in a skill/age tournament requesting to play up in a skill level higher than their rating will be allowed to do so only to a 0.5 skill level higher.
  3. Any player or team in a skill/age tournament requesting to play down in age group will be allowed to do so at the discretion of the tournament director. For example, a player or team with the youngest player 64 years old and a 3.5 rating may request to enter any an age bracket that is lower than 65+. and/or any skill level at or above 3.5.

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 to 49 (minimum required)
    • Seniors – 50 and above (minimum required)

Events by Age


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


  • Men and Women
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • Age 19 – 49 years


  • Men and Women
  • Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles
  • Age 50 and above

Events by Skill

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

Concussion Protocols

Tournament directors shall:

  • Agree to abide by the Pickleball Canada Concussion Protocol during their sanctioned tournament
  • Agree to share an electronic version of the the Concussion Protocol – Pre-Tournament Package as part of the player information package, and have available the incident report and letters below.

Concussion Protocol – Pre-tournament Package

Incident Report

Medical Assessment Letter

Medical Clearance Letter

Athlete Tournament Waiver

Athlete Tournament Waiver Template