November 26, 2023

Pontbriand grows the game, eyes bigger future

For her undying efforts to improve the CFL’s progress with inclusivity, diversity, equity and anti-racism, Laurence Pontbriand was named the winner of the 2023 Jane Mawby Tribute Award as ...

Just over five years ago, Laurence Pontbriand sat at a table with a group of CFL employees in Florida, eager to be brought into the fold.

Pontbriand first made contact with the CFL at the NFL’s Women’s Careers in Football Forum in Orlando, back in 2018. A player — she’s a receiver on Canada’s national team and a member of the national flag football team — and a person with a passion for growing the game, her work ethic was obvious. When the door opened for her at the league office, she burst through it, leaving a job as a physical education teacher behind her.

Five years later, Pontbriand is now the CFL’s senior manager of football and officiating development. She is also this year’s winner of the Jane Mawby Tribute Award, which recognizes a highly valued, yet too often unsung, current employee at the club or league level. She was presented the award last week in Niagara Falls, Ont. at the CFL Awards.

Pontbriand has been at the forefront of the league’s efforts to promote inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism. She has helped lead the launch of the Women in Football Program presented by KPMG and the Diversity in Football Program presented by Securian Canada.

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With each program having run the last two seasons, 36 total participants have worked with the league’s nine clubs, bringing newfound professional experience back to their communities. Three participants in the programs thus far have been hired as full-time employees with CFL teams.

From that informal roundtable meeting five years ago to the moment she held the award in her hand, Pontbriand was asked if this was what she’d envisioned that day in Orlando, at the start of her time with the CFL.

“Absolutely, no. I see myself as being way too young to win an award,” she said.

“This is the kind of award you win after a long career, I never thought in a million years that I’d be here. I kind of feel like this is me, yes, but this is all the other people that believes that there needs to be change and more specifically…we need to have a vision for everybody. And I think it’s the start.”

“Meaningful change in anything requires time, energy and perseverance, but it also requires a guiding voice. Laurence has been a true champion for change for our league and our great game,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement announcing Pontbriand’s selection to win the Jane Mawby Tribute Award.

“Laurence has shown incredible vision and conviction in advocating for greater diversity and inclusion across the CFL and in our communities. Through her leadership, we have planted these seeds at the heart of our game, and as they grow and flourish, we will see Canadian football continue to become more open and more welcoming to all peoples.”

When Ambrosie had called Pontbriand to inform her of the news a couple of weeks ago, she thought he wanted information on the recently completed Eastern Semi-Final playoff game. “Then he started to say, ‘We’re proud of you and your work,'” she recalled. “I knew this was something else.”

Sounding every bit a leader, she said when she got on the stage to accept the award, she thought of all of the people she’s met and worked with over the years to make the game more accessible to people.

“I really think that this is the work of all the people that are invested in this,” she said.

“Obviously you’re not the only one to start that program. Maybe I came up with the idea but there are a lot of people who need to believe in the idea and then execute it, I think this is just proof that change needs to be done and we’re getting there and the change is welcome by everybody. That’s what goes through my mind.”

Five years in, Pontbriand is constantly looking to the future. She’d love to create and run a department for the development of inclusivity in amateur football, noting that it’s the kind of idea that requires some significant financial support.

The recent addition of flag football to the 2028 Olympics could provide that segue. With the sport fully open to men and women and with its operating costs relatively simple and efficient, there is plenty of room for the game to grow and become available to a broad spectrum of the population in the coming years.

“I actually have an idea for flag,” Pontbriand said. “What I’d like to do is partner with Football Canada and the provincial sports organizations and have a combine run by the CFL in every single province. It would serve as a selection process for the national flag teams.”

She’d like to amplify that national team program with content series’ in every province to help the game gain ground across the country.

“I think we can make it really big and really fun, exciting. We can do that every year leading up to 2028. I think that would be absolutely awesome,” she said.

Ambrosie certainly appreciates the work that Pontbriand has put in. Just five years into her time with the league, she has already helped it take positive steps toward growth.

“We hear the phrase ‘Grow the Game’ in every sport, but too often, it’s rare to see it in action,” Ambrosie said.

“We’re by no means where we want to be in terms of diversity and inclusion; there’s still so much work to be done, but Laurence has led the charge and we’re seeing her efforts create real and positive change. The league and Canadian football as a whole are better for it and we’ll continue to make strides down this path.”

June 28, 2023

Three players fined from Week 3 games

Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Chris Edwards, Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Samuel Emilus and Edmonton Elks defensive lineman J-Min Pelley were all fined after Week 3’s games.

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League has announced that three players have been fined following Week 3’s game.

  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Chris Edwards has received a maximum fine for unsportsmanlike conduct following the game against the Montreal Alouettes.
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Samuel Emilus has been fined for a high hit on Calgary Stampeders defensive back Jonathan Moxey.
  • Edmonton Elks defensive lineman J-Min Pelley has been fined for a tourist hit on Toronto Argonauts wide receiver B.J. Byrd.

As per league policy, the amounts of the fines were not disclosed.

June 14, 2023

Five players fined after Week 1 action

The Canadian Football League has announced that five players have been fined after the first week of play in the regular season. 

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League has announced that five players have been fined after the first week of play in the regular season.

  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive tackle Mohamed Diallo has been fined for unnecessary roughness on Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Geoff Gray.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Brandon Alexander has been fined for a high hit on Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Kiondré Smith.
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Carthell Flowers-Lloyd has been fined for a low block on a kicking play.
  • Ottawa REDBLACKS defensive lineman Bryce Carter has been fined for unnecessary roughness on Montreal Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo.
  • Edmonton Elks defensive back Ed Gainey has been fined for a high hit on Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Jake Wieneke.

As per league policy, the amounts of the fines were not disclosed.

June 6, 2023

O’Leary: CFL, PFF embark on analytics journey

Figures from the CFL and Pro Football Focus discuss their partnership with senior writer Chris O’Leary and how it can help the league better understand its players on an analytical ...

You know Cris Collinsworth as the voice of Sunday Night Football, a decorated sports broadcaster, a three-time Pro Bowl receiver in the NFL and as the owner and chairman of Pro Football Focus (PFF). The sports analytics company is a fixture in the NCAA and NFL, offering thorough analysis of its subjects.

Had a few things worked out differently, you may have known him instead as a Montreal Alouette.

“I came close to playing in the Canadian Football League,” Collinsworth told in a recent interview.

“In ’81 I got drafted in the second round by the (Cincinnati) Bengals. They had drafted David Vercer in the first round, another receiver. Vince Ferragamo, I think was the guy who played (quarterback) for the Montreal Alouettes at the time. And (the Alouettes) were making a big push to sort of Americanize and they were recruiting. I went to Montreal, and I went out to meet with him.

“As soon as I got off the airplane, I swear there was a television reporter there. And they go, ‘Cris, tell us how you feel about taking jobs away from Canadian citizens.’ I was like, 22 years old,” Collinsworth laughed. “I mean, if the deal would have been right, I would have played. I would have signed.”

Forty-two years later, Collinsworth, through PFF, is re-familiarizing himself with the CFL.

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The two unveiled their partnership on Tuesday, with PFF providing its unique and impactful analytics to the CFL. It’s a move that will help bolster analytics use for all nine of the CFL’s clubs — all of which used the product in 2022 — while providing better insight for the media that cover the league and for the fans that can’t get enough in-depth statistical analysis that will allow them to see the game and the players that impact it in new ways.

“It improves the depth of analysis. The teams may have been doing this on their own but now they have someone else to do it for them. It saves time. It goes maybe into a deeper dive of certain parts of the analysis or evaluation of a player that they might not otherwise have had time to do,” said Greg Dick, the CFL’s chief football operations officer and head of Grey Cup and events.

The CFL will share PFF’s insights publicly via weekly grading reveals, along with statistical integration into the freshly re-launched CFL Fantasy game for the 2023 season.

“The CFL has this kind of longstanding vision,” said Rick Drummond, PFF’s general manager of football. “It’s been around for forever and we’re happy to be associated with it.”

This partnership is one that’s been in the works for years. While the pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of the 2020 CFL season slowed things coming together sooner for the two, both sides feel that they were able to take advantage of that situation to get to where we are today.

Eugene Lewis led the league with 23 contested catches last season, per PFF, which should help the Elks rebound in 2023 (

“That’s probably what I’m most proud of, is the patience that both sides had, the vision that both sides had,” said Bryan Hall, PFF’s chief revenue officer. “I think it was a four or five year process to get this done.”

Hall said that the challenge posed by adjusting to record and analyze Canadian football was a significant one that required resources, which the CFL helped provide.

“It took us time with that,” he continued. “I don’t have to tell you there have been challenges for the CFL, just like there have been for other leagues the last few years that have been significant. So we kind of played a slow game and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get this into (teams’) hands, first of all, let them understand what our data is and what it can do more on the scouting side of things.'”

That gradual process allowed PFF’s team to dive in on breaking down Canadian football and all of its nuances — three downs, the wider field, the extra player, pre-snap motion and of course the rouge, to name a few — and finding a fit for them in analytics that had been crafted to varying levels of four-down American football.

CFL teams used PFF’s data last year to analyze NFL and NCAA players, while getting data on their own players. That initial sampling brought the data to life and showed teams what PFF can offer them.

“In many ways, we’re geared to probably help the CFL more than any league because we’re doing a lot of that (quality control) work or that (film breakdown), Hall said. “We’re doing all that work and so I think it really fits well.

“As (CFL teams) started to use it, I think it was pretty much a no brainer, pretty quickly was was kind of the feedback, we got it on it. A lot of what we do is pretty basic and simple. It’s just work efficiency and that’s something every team could find value in.”

“The teams saw a benefit, they talked to their football operations colleagues…they were really just getting periphery top level scouting stuff on players (coming into the CFL via the NCAA and NFL). Now they have the full gamut in terms of how they can scout guys in our league with the analysis they provide,” Dick said.

All these years later, Collinsworth looks at the CFL game and is intrigued by its offensively friendly aspects.

PFF has Lions’ cornerback Garry Peters as a candidate to lead the league in interceptions this year (

“There are a lot of things about the Canadian game that I really like. I love all the motion I love all the moving parts. I love the three downs so that you ended up having to end up having to be more aggressive playing the game of football. All those things make it very, very fan friendly and drew me to it a little bit as a player when I was coming out,” he said.

“I think now it gives us a chance to explore some of the differences in the two leagues. These leagues are all sort of melding together at the end of the day, they take rules from the USFL that they like and bring them in the Canadian league be all right with me as a former X receiver who had to sit on the ball with some of the best cornerbacks in the league right on my nose smashing the heck out. I mean, I would like to add about a five yard run and start at them, that would have been all right.”

What PFF’s data has done for Collinsworth, who implements it throughout his workweek with his NBC colleagues (“I can’t remember how I got ready for a game before PFF,” he said), is taken a far-reaching football community that spans the collegiate and various pro ranks now and brings it together under one analytical tent.

“I think probably the final touch for me has been how it’s not just impacted broadcasts, how it’s impacted football. How it’s impacted the way that running backs are getting paid compared to the way that cornerbacks are getting paid, compared to edge rushers,” he said.

“What’s come out of this is a real pecking order of salaries and front office structure and all the different things that have really sort of changed the game going for it on fourth down, when does that make sense? When does it make sense to punt or kick a field goal?

“Those are all mathematical equations now that these teams are just clicking through and almost all of it originated inside the building with Rick (Drummond) and his team just continuing to dig and find ways to turn the football globe upside down, shake it a couple of times and see what falls out of there.”

May 16, 2023

New health and safety measures introduced to further safeguard players

The CFL in consultation with the CFL Medical Committee will introduce several health and safety measures this season. Guardian caps at training camp and in-season medical tents highlight the new ...

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League in consultation with the CFL Medical Committee will introduce several health and safety measures this season.

“Our players are our game’s greatest ambassadors, both on and off the field,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “We must continue to explore new equipment, technology and best practices to help ensure they are physically and emotionally able to have long and successful careers.

“As athletes evolve through better nutrition, training regimens and a clearer understanding of the human body, so too will our game. As a league, we must embrace that evolution and work with our players to create an exciting and competitive, but safe, football environment.”

The new measures are slated to be put in place during CFL Training Camps.

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Offensive and defensive linemen, running backs and linebackers will wear Guardian Caps this season, with other positions having optional use (

Guardian caps

​For the 2023 season, the CFL has mandated use of the Guardian Cap by offensive and defensive linemen, running backs and linebackers during CFL Training Camps, as well as all contact practices during the regular season. Players at other positions may choose to wear the product, but they are not mandated to do so.

The Guardian Cap is a padded shell affixed to the outside of the helmet. Research has shown that when worn by one player, the Guardian Cap reduces the severity of impact by at least a 10 per cent reduction, and by at least 20 per cent when worn by both players.

Medical tents

​Beginning this season, clubs will have collapsible tents on the bench that will be used for medical assessments and/or examinations. The tents create a distraction-free environment to help ensure examinations are carried out thoroughly, while also providing privacy for players.

Tents will be visible on both benches at each game and will only be raised when needed.

Pre-game Medical Meeting

​The league has made enhancements to the pregame medical meeting. In addition to medical personnel, the pre-game meeting has been expanded to include representation from key stakeholders, including but not limited to, security, and staff from the venue operations and game presentation departments.

In the event of a medical emergency, the personnel team will be well-aligned as they expedite care for affected individual(s).

Medical Staff training

​In addition to the training required to satisfy professional requirements, staff from all nine clubs gathered in the off-season to complete additional advanced professional development courses including, but not limited to:

  • Emergency Medical Response – Sport training.
  • In-air Emergency Preparedness Training – triaging and managing emergency scenarios with limited equipment while flying.

Additionally, staff working with players in strength and conditioning or physical performance capacities must now hold the certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) designation offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).


​The league is involved in several ongoing and upcoming scientific research studies with Dalhousie University, Concordia University, McGill University, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, University of Victoria and The University of British Columbia. Studies range in topics from the effective use of various equipment and technologies in the prevention and rehabilitation of injury, to injury surveillance and correlation analyses with performance optimization.

May 8, 2023

Rules receive fine-tuning for 2023 season

The CFL Board of Governors have unanimously approved a set of rule changes proposed by the league’s Rules Committee as teams continue preparations for the upcoming season.

TORONTO — The CFL Board of Governors have unanimously approved a set of rule changes proposed by the league’s Rules Committee as teams continue preparations for the upcoming season.

The 2023 updates to the rule book follow the substantive rule changes introduced last season that resulted from the CFL’s extensive product review.

“Last season’s changes yielded positive results across several key metrics,” said associate vice-president of officiating, Darren Hackwood.

“The changes being introduced this year are focused on fine-tuning the rules from a health and safety perspective and to refine certain nuances in the game. These updates will build upon last season’s changes as the league and the Rules Committee continue to measure the impacts of the 2022 product review.”

CFL rookie camps open on May 10, followed by training camp on May 14. The season kicks off on Thursday, June 8 with the BC Lions traveling to Calgary to take on the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium. The season will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton with the 110th Grey Cup.

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The requirement for the ball to be touched prior to ruling a rouge on a kickoff has been removed.

  • This change aligns the rouge rule on kickoffs with all other types of kick plays.

A safety has been added to the options for holding in the team’s own goal area.

  • When a team commits a holding foul in their own goal area while in possession of the ball in their goal area, a safety has been added to the options available to the other team.

The defensive formation has been restricted on kick plays.

  • The number of players within two yards of the line of scrimmage on either side of the long snapper has been restricted to a maximum of six players at the snap.
  • This restriction does not apply if the offence lines up in an unbalanced line or if an offensive player moves or motions from their initial position.
  • This restriction only applies to field goal and kicked convert attempts.
  • This change is in the spirit of player safety to avoid grossly overloading the defensive line on one side of the long snapper.

Avoidable contact with an official

  • It shall be illegal for a player, or an authorized member of a team bench area, to make avoidable contact with an official.
  • This includes providing a safe workspace by keeping the sidelines clear during play. Officials cannot properly officiate a game if their attention is being diverted to the sidelines in hopes of avoiding collision or injury.
  • When an official is contacted by a player, or an authorized member of a team bench area, officials will be permitted to check with the command centre to assist with a judgment as to whether contact was “avoidable” and if so, a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty will be applied.
  • This change will allow the officiating staff to call these actions confidently with command centre help. It will also bring much needed attention to the requirement of providing a safe workspace for officials.
  • This change complements and builds upon existing rules regarding contacting officials that may result in ejections.

Move the drive start position up five yards in additional scenarios:

  1. Section 5A – If a kicked ball strikes the goal post assembly in flight and when Team B intercepts a ball or recovers a fumble in their own goal area, the next point of scrimmage will be the 30-yard line.
  2. Section 5B – Penalty applications with fouls in the goal area will be applied from the 30- or 15-yard line dependent upon the foul.
  3. Section 6C – When a penalty or ruling awards possession of the ball to the opponent, the point of possession will move up 5 yards.
  4. These changes align the drive start adjustment made in 2022 with other scenarios.

Teams cannot have players wear 0 and 00

Players shall be identified by the following numbering:

  • Eligible receivers will wear numbers 0 or 00-49 and 70-99.
  • Ineligible receivers will wear numbers 50-69.

Having two players on the same team wearing 0 and 00 creates significant issues with the statistical and scouting systems the teams deploy. This change allows only one player from each team to wear the number 0 or 00.

May 5, 2023

CFL QB Internship welcomes nine pivots into camps

Nine quarterbacks from across the country are set to hone their skills alongside their professional counterparts as part of the 2023 CFL QB Internship.

TORONTO — Nine quarterbacks from across the country are set to hone their skills alongside their professional counterparts as part of the 2023 CFL QB Internship. CFL rookie camps open May 10 with training camps set to kick off May 14.

The program, which welcomed its first class in 2010, provides an opportunity for promising young pivots playing in Canada to develop their skills, participate in practices, attend team and positional meetings with CFL clubs, as they continue their journeys through amateur football.

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Notable past participants include:

​(Team | Name | School | Hometown)


  • Last season, played in 10 games and passed for 2,864 yards
  • Completed 55.4 per cent of his passes for 28 touchdowns
  • Added 290 rushing yards and six scores
  • In 2022, named Peter Dalla Riva Outstanding Offensive Player, CJFL first-Team All-Canadian and a BCFC All-Star.


  • In his first year, played in five games for the Golden Bears and had 1,396 passing yards
  • Nine touchdown passes and three rushing majors
  • Surpassed 300-yard passing mark in three of five games
  • 2023 CFL Combine participant as an underclassmen


  • Led AUS in passing with 1,935 yards, with 59.4 per cent completion rate
  • 13 touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown and 233 rushing yards
  • 2021 AUS Most Outstanding Player (2021) and two-time AUS All-Star (2021, 2022)


  • Started all eight Canada West games
  • 1,691 passing yards – third most by a UofR player in first season of eligibility
  • 55.6 per cent completion rate and 10 touchdown passes


  • 2022 Vanier Cup champion
  • Led U SPORTS in passing touchdowns (20) and completion percentage (73.0)
  • Six 300+ passing yard games last season
  • Second in U SPORTS with 2,555 passing yards
  • 2022 First-Team All-Canadian, RSEQ All-Star
  • 2023 CFL Combine participant as an underclassmen


  • Played in 11 games last season with six starts
  • 1,337 passing yards, six touchdowns and five rushing scores
  • 58.8 per cent completion rate


  • In first full season as starter, finished with 1,786 passing yards in eight games
  • Completed 66.2 per cent of passes for 13 touchdowns
  • 111 rushing yards and one major


  • 19 regular season starts for the Gee-Gees
  • 3,684 career passing yards, with 20 touchdown passes and four rushing majors ​
  • In 2022, career-highs in completion rate (59.4 per cent), passing yards (1,411) and touchdown passes (nine)
  • Two-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian (2021, 2022)
  • 2023 CFL Combine participant as an underclassmen


  • In 2022, transferred to UBC after one season with Merrimack Warriors
  • Before Merrimack, played at University of Connecticut (2019, 2021)
  • In two seasons with Connecticut, completed 54.3 per cent of passes for 2,107 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games
  • At Merrimack, played in five games, completing 49.1 per cent of passes for 667 yards and seven touchdowns
May 4, 2023

CFL welcomes six new participants into Officiating Academy

The Canadian Football League is proud to announce the six new participants who will join the league’s Officiating Academy.

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League is proud to announce the six new participants who will join the league’s Officiating Academy. The program – launched in 2022 with the support of the Canadian Professional Football Officials Association, the Canadian Football Officials Association, Football Canada and the CFL Players’ Association (CFLPA) – operates with a clear and collective focus: to help develop, train and support Canada’s pipeline of officials.

“The development of officials is synonymous with the development of the game,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “Amateur officials working in community recreational leagues help youth develop skills, creating a safe and competitive environment, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

“Proper officiating at the college and junior levels hones players’ knowledge and skills. At the professional level, our officials do an incredible job of managing the game to ensure a fair, exciting and entertaining game inspires fans and viewers across the country. At every level, officials play a critical role. And it is our goal through the Officiating Academy to help more officials perform at the highest level.”

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“Skilled and trained officials allow our members to play exciting and safe CFL football,” added Brian Ramsay, Executive Director of the CFLPA. “These individuals are necessary for the game to exist, and the Officiating Academy is an excellent way to provide high-level training for officials across the country at every level. The program’s success is evident as we have now seen its members regularly on fields across Canada.”

The CFL Officiating Academy is a yearlong program that provides participants with the opportunity to work closely with league staff and officials to deepen their knowledge of officiating, while gaining the experience and skill development needed to progress at the amateur and professional levels.

Participants take part for a maximum of two years. The 2023 cohort will see four returnees continue their officiating journeys through the program. Two 2022 participants have been selected for CFL officiating crews this season – Eric Gyebi will be working the line judge position and Kyle Mikulik has earned a spot as an umpire. Those not selected to join the league’s officiating staff will join the country’s pipeline of active officials helping to oversee the game throughout the country.

This year’s program – beginning at CFL Officiating Training Camp from May 4-7 – includes virtual and in-person sessions to develop the technical aspects of officiating, such as mechanics, standards, fitness, administration and more. The academy also focuses on personal, emotional and mental well-being to prepare participants for the elation and challenges of a career in officiating.

As part of the program, participants may be assigned to a CFL pre-season game, Passing Showcases, CFL Training Camp scrimmages, or placement in support staff positions for CFL games or in the CFL Command Centre.

“We thank our participants for their dedication and passion for officiating and football,” noted Commissioner Ambrosie. “We hope this program is an educational, meaningful and invaluable experience as they continue to learn and grow with our great game.”

​(Name | Hometown | Local association | Officiating position | Program status)

  • Sharon Airey | Edmonton | Edmonton OA | Umpire | New
  • John Paul Chorney | Winnipeg | MFOA | Umpire | New
  • Hassan Cohen | Nanaimo, B.C. | BCFOA | Back judge | Returning
  • Dan Fleischhaker | Regina | Regina FOA | Side judge | New
  • Romeo Kabongo | Airdrie, Alta. | Edmonton OA | Line judge | Returning
  • Eric LeBlanc | Dieppe, N.B. | NBFOA | Line judge | New
  • Tim Louman-Gardiner | Vancouver | BCFOA | Line judge | New
  • Matt Spetter | Edmonton | Edmonton OA | Umpire | New
  • Anthony Williams | Dartmouth, N.S. | NSFOA | Side judge | Returning
  • Vincent Williams | Halifax | NSFOA | Line judge | Returning
April 28, 2023

Salary Management System: Four teams exceed the cap in 2022

Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg have been fined for exceeding last season’s salary cap, the CFL announced on Friday.

TORONTO — Following an annual audit, the Canadian Football League (CFL) has levied fines against the Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa REDBLACKS, Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for exceeding the league’s 2022 Salary Expenditure Cap.

As no team exceeded the Salary Expenditure Cap by more than $100,000, the selection order for the 2023 CFL Draft on May 2 remains unaffected.

The Salary Management System’s review process includes a detailed field audit of all nine clubs following the season. Teams are also required to provide regularly scheduled updates on compensation levels at the six-, 12- and 18-game points of the season.

The Salary Expenditure Cap for the upcoming 2023 season has been set at $5.45M.

​(Team | Penalty)

  • Montreal | $794
  • Ottawa | $11,994
  • Toronto | $49,735
  • Hamilton | Not applicable
  • Winnipeg | $64,499
  • Saskatchewan | Not applicable
  • Calgary | Not applicable
  • Edmonton | Not applicable
  • BC | Not applicable

(Current to time of publication)

  1. Ottawa
  2. Edmonton
  3. Saskatchewan
  4. Calgary (via Hamilton)
  5. Montreal
  6. Hamilton (via Calgary)
  7. Montreal (via BC)
  8. Winnipeg
  9. BC (via Toronto)
January 27, 2020

Negotiating window a new feature of 2020 free agency

Free agency will take on a new look in 2020, with the introduction of a week-long negotiation window that begins on Feb. 2.

Free agency officially kicks off on Feb. 11 at noon ET. This year, the ball gets rolling a little earlier than that.

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, a free agency window has been created that will allow pending free agents and teams across the league to communicate prior to the market’s official opening. The window is open for one week, from Feb. 2 at noon ET to Feb. 9 at noon ET.

CFL GMs have discussed and considered the window as an option for a number of years. Its creation is an attempt at curtailing tampering and promoting roster continuity. The NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB all have variations of a free agency window.

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»’s Top 30 Pending Free Agents

GMs across the league will have a chance to speak with pending free agents before the market opens (Dave Chidley/

In the window, teams can make formal offers to a pending free agent. Those offers — complete with base salary amount along with any incentives being offered — have to be registered with the league office and the CFL Players Association. Offers submitted are considered binding and can’t be rescinded.

When the window closes, teams will enter an exclusive 48-hour negotiating period with their pending free agents. At the start of that 48-hour period, the league will provide all teams with any of the registered offers their pending free agents received. Teams will have until Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. ET to make an offer to their pending free agents. They’ll have to provide a copy of the offer to the CFL and the CFLPA.

At the end of that 48-hour period, the player will have from 10 a.m. to noon ET on Feb 11 to select any offer made to him from any club. If he chooses one of these offers, the chosen team has to notify the CFL, who will then notify the other eight teams in the league. Conversely, if the player doesn’t accept any of these offers, he’ll enter free agency with any prior offers made from any team withdrawn and no longer available for acceptance.

Once the player enters free agency, the process would unfold as it has in years past. Team offers received in free agency don’t have to be registered with the league or the CFLPA.

To run through a hypothetical, let’s look at Roughriders DB Ed Gainey.

When the window opens on Feb. 2, Gainey will be free to speak with any team in the league about a contract. He and his agent can go back and forth with multiple teams on contract length, salary, incentives, etc. Teams can make a formal offer to him, all of which would have to be registered with the league and the CFLPA.

At the end of the week, he’d have a 48-hour period with the Riders to negotiate. In that time, Saskatchewan would have access to any and all offers made to him by other teams.

After that 48-hour window with the Riders closed, Gainey would have between 10 a.m. and Noon ET on Feb. 11 to make a decision on the offers presented to him. That is the only time in the entire free agency window that a player can accept a team’s offer.

If Gainey didn’t like any of the offers he’d received, he could pass on them and enter into free agency at 12:01 p.m. ET.

Once in free agency, all prior offers are rescinded and he can go back to negotiating with any of the nine teams in the league again and the traditional process would unfold. Offers he’d receive at this point would not have to be registered with the league or the CFLPA. The team he signs with would inform the league and an announcement would be made, the same way it’s worked in previous years of free agency.

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