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Policies and Procedures — Consultation

Group Safety Leadership Guideline (DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION)

This document has been reviewed extensively by select Group Commissioners and Scouts Canada staff, but it has not yet been formally approved, and does not yet represent requirements for Scouting adventures.

This is your opportunity to read the document and to provide your feedback—please use the form at the bottom of page, and share your thoughts by August 16. We value your feedback, and we will use your constructive criticisms, questions and ideas to make this resources as clear, sensible and robust as possible. Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Group Safety Leadership Guideline (DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 leaders, 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, however, small.

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 are 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-deep 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.

Our Safety Standards for Outdoor Activities

  • The Group Commissioner, or delegate, approves all camping and outdoor activities.
  • The Group Commissioner, or delegate, ensures:
    1. All Scouters, parents/guardians and other adult resource people are screened according to Scouts Canada procedure
    2. All contracts, agreements and waivers are signed according to Scouts Canada procedure
    3. A completed hazard assessment, risk management plan and emergency response plan have been submitted.
    4. Parent/guardian consent forms are signed for Category 3 activities.
    5. All participants have the necessary skills, certifications and permits required for the activity.
    6. Parents have updated emergency and medical information in Myscouts.
    7. A plan is in place for Youth-Scouter ratio to be met at all times.
    8. Equipment is inspected, appropriate and maintained for safe use.
    9. The Transportation Standards are met.
    10. A review has been conducted of the adventure site and appropriate risk management has been completed.
    11. Approved Camping and Outdoor Activity Applications shall be completed and approved by the Group Commissioner before the adventure takes place.

Related Policies

  • Property Policy
  • Safety First Policy
  • Volunteer Screening Policy
  • Youth Protection Policy

Related Standards & Procedures

  • Animals at Scout Properties and Activities Standards
  • Camping and Outdoor Adventures Standards
  • First Aid Standards
  • Incident Management Standard
  • Individual Hold Harmless Agreements Procedure
  • Knives, Axes, Saws, Stoves, Lanterns and Other Camping Tools Standards
  • Prohibited Activities Standards
  • Risk Management Standard (in development)
  • Safety Equipment Standards
  • Shooting Sports Standards
  • Swimming Standards
  • Transportation Standard
  • Third Party Use of Scout Property Procedure
  • Third Party Waivers & Hold Harmless Agreements Procedure
  • Watercraft Standards
  • Emergency Management Standard
  • Environmental Property Registration, & Workplace Health & Safety Compliance Reporting Procedure


  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Guideline
  • Camping and Outdoor Activity Approval Form
  • Physical Fitness Form

Feedback on the Group Safety Leadership Guideline

Please provide your thoughts on the content above. Scouts Canada welcomes your suggestions, questions and concerns. All feedback provided will be read and considered, and we will do our best to incorporate the valuable advice and direction we receive to enhance this resource. Please indicate the specific section(s) you are commenting on. Be as specific as possible when providing your feedback. Thank you!

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