League office, CFLPA submitting detailed return to play health and safety plan to various levels of Canadian government

The CFL Players’ Association sent an update memo to its membership with regards to progress on a return to play plan for the 2021 season.

The league and union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on putting football on the field this year.

This week, we will submit a detailed Return to Play Health and Safety plan to various levels of government in Canada for their consideration.

Having a government-approved plan that outlines how we will keep CFLPA members, team staff, game staff and communities safe and protected from virus spread is an important and required first step we must take, alongside the CFL, in order to play a safe 2021 season.

The plan was created in partnership with the CFL office and with advice and input from trusted medical experts who have helped other professional leagues safely return to play. It also includes best practices from the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS.

While we expect to receive feedback on the plan from governments, we believe it satisfies the expectation of a safe working environment for all CFLPA members and that it will meet the high standards and requirements of government health authorities.

As we wait to hear back, we will continue meetings with the CFL, in both a mutually respectful and positive manner, on agreements and negotiations that are necessary to safely put CFLPA members on the playing field this season.

While there is still a lot of work to do over the coming weeks and months, we are both hopeful and optimistic. Please continue training and preparing to play Canadian football this season. For those outside Canada, be ready to come to Canada. And please continue doing what you can to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.

The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule in November with the pre-season scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 23, while the regular season is slated to get underway on Thursday, June 10, and the Grey Cup in Hamilton on Sunday, November 21 in Hamilton.

While the NHL received the go-ahead from the Public Health Agency of Canada for teams to play in their home arenas, the same guidelines weren’t yet been requested by the CFL in January.

However, that’s about to change as the paperwork is being formally submitted by the league and players together. Just like with the NHL, each province will have to approve the protocols.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.