Our Commitment to Safety
The safety of our youth, volunteers, staff and employees cannot be compromised. Health and safety must be integrated into everything we do. Every member of Scouts Canada will be diligent in identifying and managing risk so everyone can safely participate in Scouting adventures. We will be role models for the future leaders that we represent. We will keep up our commitment to parents and youth that everyone can trust Scouting to be a safe place to have fun adventures.
Note: Child & Youth Safety is a special topic that is treated independently from Health & Safety. Health & Safety refers to physical and personal safety; building, equipment and asset safety (often called process safety) and procedural and administrative safety (i.e. the rules, regulations, supervision and competency).
Our Safe Scouting Policy
- Adventure always carries with it some element of risk; our responsibility is to ensure members, youth and adults, focus on identifying and reducing risk as an essential part of their activities.
- The identification and management of risk is an indispensable component of the plan-do-review process for adventures and activities undertaken by Scouts Canada including its Sections, Groups and Councils.
- Scouts Canada will provide resources and training to all of its volunteers to help plan safe, fun adventures and activities.
The Role of Group Committees in Safety
Safety leadership is more than ensuring compliance and rule-following. It is about setting the tone of what is both acceptable and desirable to ensure we maintain a safe environment and behaviours that role-model for our youth a leading safety culture.
As Scouters, we have a special opportunity to set the ‘tone from the top’, an example of what good safety behaviour is, and provide a living picture for our youth that they can adopt for themselves as future leaders. Fundamentally, we make a commitment to our parents, youth and members that when people are in our care they return in the same condition or better than when they arrived.
At Scouts Canada, we believe that all accidents are preventable and our actions at all times will reflect that and we do our best to ensure no injury occurs on our watch.
Ultimately, group committees have several key responsibilities when it comes to safety:
(1) We ensure all Scouts Canada standards, and the minimum requirements detailed within, are met or exceeded at all times. Accordingly, we ensure we keep up to date on the expectations of the standards and ensure we communicate to our section scouters to ensure they conduct themselves and the activities accordingly.
(2) We ensure that the regular meeting places are safe, that emergency plans exist and that scouters are communicating safety to parents and youth and practising drills as required.
(3) We ensure that all of our outdoor activities are safe at all times – that plans are developed in advance, that hazards are appropriately identified and that risks are managed to within an acceptable risk tolerance.
(4) We ensure that our group and section equipment is always safe, maintained and stored appropriately. We verify with our section scouters and ‘Scouters in Charge’ that they have the knowledge, skill and competency to conduct activities appropriately.
(5) We ensure appropriate supervision is in place to protect all our members, not just youth. This means we will ensure competent people are available for activities, scouter to youth ratio is always maintained and we ensure two-Scouter section leadership at all times.
(6) We understand our responsibility to stop, defer, or cancel an activity for safety reasons if the Scouter in Charge has not met the minimum expectations for safety for Scouts Canada.
(7) We will always err on the side of caution and always in the favor of youth safety – even if this means disappointing scouters, or youth. Advanced planning and preparation should reduce the likelihood of cancellation to a minimum.