Code of Conduct FAQ


  1. What is the Code of Conduct?
  2. Why does Scouts Canada have a Code of Conduct?
  3. When is the Code of Conduct reviewed and updated?
  4. How is the Code of Conduct signed?
  5. Whom does the Code of Conduct apply to?
  6. What happens if the Youth or Adult Code of Conduct is breached?
  7. Is the Code of Conduct intended to apply to life 24/7?
  8. If a relative of my child (such as a grandparent or sibling) is a Scouter, will they be in conflict with the Adult Code of Conduct if they drive my child to camp without a second Scouter in the vehicle?
  9. Why is a Youth Code of Conduct needed?
  10. What happens if a Youth Volunteer (Scouter) does not want to agree to the Code?
  11. Why don’t youth sign the same Code of Conduct as adult Scouters?
  12. If a youth is a Scouter and a youth member—does the Code of Conduct apply to when participating in an activity as a youth?
  13. Is parent’s permission needed to sign the Youth Code of Conduct?
  14. What about Youth Commissioners who are tasked to ‘supervise’ all the youth within a Council? What if a Youth Commissioner in a relationship with another youth in their Council?
  15. Why does the Code apply online and in-person?
  16. What if an emergency situation arises and a Scouter needs to act quickly to protect or offer first aid to a youth and touch them without asking their permission, which violates the Code of Conduct?
  17. What does it mean to “behave in such a way that no one could misinterpret my actions no matter how well-intended”?
  18. Does following the Code mean Scouters cannot play tag with youth?
  19. What is positive discipline? How is it used?
  20. What is meant by “I will not rely on just my good name to protect me?

 

Please references Policies: Scouts Canada Code of Conduct Standards for both the Adult and Youth Code of Conduct.

 

What is Code of Conduct?

Scouts Canada’s Code of Conduct is a short, clear, and broad set of written statements that establishes boundaries for all staff and Volunteers and outlines expectations for interactions
with the Scouting youth in their care. It is a simple, easy to understand and easy to refer to document.

What our Code of Conduct is NOT. Scouts Canada’s Code of Conduct is not an exact measure of behaviour and contravening it does not necessarily mean expulsion from Scouts Canada. It is also not necessarily meant to punish staff or Volunteers nor necessarily to constrain or define
all potential activities and circumstances. Consistently contravening Code of Conduct guidelines or placing children at risk of harm by doing so, however, suggests that an individual may not share the organization’s values and, upon review, they may be asked to leave.

 

Why does Scouts Canada have a Code of Conduct?

Scouts Canada’s Code of Conduct is a broad agreement establishing that Scouters will act in a manner consistent with the spirit of the Scout Promise and Law (organizational principles) and that they will protect the youth in their care.

For example, many Canadians consume alcohol around a campfire in the summer with youth present. The Code of Conduct specifically identifies that this behaviour, while on any Scouting activity, is not in keeping with our organizational values. It’s important to include this in the Code of Conduct because new Scouters or parents may naturally assume that it’s okay to drink around a campfire during Scouting.

 

When is the Code of Conduct reviewed and updated?

The Scouts Canada Code of Conduct is reviewed annually to ensure that it remains current in a rapidly changing youth safety environment. As part of these annual reviews, Scouts Canada obtains input from external youth safety partners, including the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

 

How is the Code of Conduct signed?

When the Code of Conduct is signed by a Volunteer (Scouter) it is done so in their MyScouts account virtually. It will pop-up as the first screen the Scouter will see the second time they sign into MyScouts after registering in their Scouter role. This is the same process for Rover Scouts.

Parents or other adults either helping or not helping Scouters attending day meetings or overnight camps are also asked to sign the Code of Conduct. As they do not have a MyScouts account, or have a MyScouts account without a role in MyScouts, they can sign a paper copy. This is found within our Code of Conduct Standards.

 

What happens if either the Youth or Adult Code is breached?

It is important that all breaches of the Code be addressed: Minor infractions might be addressed by a fellow Scouter pointing out the breach to the individual and speaking then with their Group Commissioner.

The Group Commissioner can then have a more formal conversation with the Scouter. Serious or persistent breaches of the Code require formal action and must be reported to your Council or Safe Scouting. If in doubt, you can seek advice from your Council or Safe Scouting.
Remember: It is not your role to determine why someone has breached the Code; it is your responsibility to report it.

 

Is the Code of Conduct intended to apply to life 24/7?

The Adult Code of Conduct applies when you are participating in Scouting activities or acting in your Scouting role on behalf of Scouts Canada.

For example: This would include when you are actively participating in a Scouting activity such as a weekend camp, or when you are preparing for the weekend camp and communicating with youth face-to-face, on the phone or internet, or accompanying youth other than your own child as they shop for food.

 

When acting in a role as a Scouts Canada Volunteer and also a parent with a youth in Scouting are parental rights and responsibilities ever in conflict with the Adult Code of Conduct?

No. Your rights as parent/guardian take precedence.

For example: You and your child can drive to a Scout camp together and without another Scouter present.

 

If a relative of my child (such as a grandparent or sibling) is a Scouter, will they be in conflict with the Adult Code of Conduct if they drives my child to camp without a second Scouter in the vehicle?

In the case where another family member is a Scouter, they should be added to the list of additional adults authorized to transport your child. This can be done in the emergency information section of your child’s membership information in MyScouts. By authorizing these adults in advance, you will avoid any conflicts with the Code of Conduct.

Why is a Youth Code of Conduct needed?

As Scouting youth take on increasingly greater roles in program leadership, it is important to support them wherever we can.

A 14-year-old Scouter in a position of leadership and responsibility needs an easily understandable Code that helps guide their interactions with younger youth. At the same time, they are still a youth themselves, and it is important that they understand that they are entitled protection, particularly in their interactions with adults. The Youth Code of Conduct addresses both the individual’s responsibilities as a Scouter and their protections as a youth.

 

What happens if a Youth Volunteer (Scouter) does not want to agree to this Code?

If a Youth Volunteer does not wish to agree to the Code, then they must remain in a participant role. Agreeing to the Code of Conduct is a component of Volunteer Screening and therefore is a requirement if wanting to be appointed in a Scouter role.

 

Why don’t youth sign the same Code of Conduct as adult Scouters?

Although youth are taking on a role in program leadership, they are still a youth, and it is important that it is understood that youth are entitled to the same protections as other Scouting youth, particularly in your interactions with adults. The Youth Code of Conduct addresses both responsibilities as a Scouter and  protections as a youth.

 

If a youth is a Scouter and a youth member—does the Code of Conduct apply to when participating in an activity as a youth?

The Code does not apply when participating in a Scouting role. However, it is important to remember  participants should be demonstrating the Scout Promise and Law. If the Promise and Law are not followed as a participant, this influences their ability to serve as a Scouter.

 

Is parent’s permission needed to sign the Youth Code of Conduct?

Yes, parents should be involved in all of the stages of becoming a Scouter.

 

What about Youth Commissioners who are tasked to ‘supervise’ all the youth within a Council? What if a Youth Commissioner in a relationship with another youth in their Council?

Youth Commissioners  have some responsibility for all of the youth in their Council. If a Venturer is attending an event that includes multiple Sections (Venturers, Scouts, Cubs or Beavers), then they cannot attend as a participant. This is because they occupy a position of trust through their role as a Youth Commissioner. If they are in a relationship with another youth from their section, then they can only attend events for that section as a participant. For example, if they are a Venturer in a relationship with a fellow Venturer, they can only take part in the Venturer program with that group as a participant.

 

Why does the Code apply online and in-person?

The Two Scouter Rule is in place both in person and online, all communications between Scouters and youth as well as virtual meetings must include at least Two Scouters. Modern media and communication methods have become an important part of Scouting and our safety guidelines need to keep pace. As with in-person interaction with youth, online contact must be in accordance with our values, and our Code of Conduct provides guidance in this area.

 

What if an emergency situation arises and a Scouter needs to act quickly to protect or offer first aid to a youth and touch them without asking their permission, which violates the Code of Conduct?

When Scouters are following the Two-Scouter Rule, and other Scouters can see that the Scouters is protecting or caring for an injured youth,this should not be an issue as the safety of youth comes first.

If the injured youth is conscious and capable of making a decision, permission needs to be asked.  If care is refused, the safety of the child remains paramount, and if it is felt l that the situation is life-threatening, then action should be taken. If the situation is not life-threatening and care is refused the parents need to be involved and Safe Scouting informed.

 

What does it mean to “behave in such a way that no one could misinterpret my actions no matter how well-intended”?

This means ensuring that Scouter behaviour is open and transparent. This includes ensuring that Scouters are talking to parents, explaining to them what we are doing and why, and ensuring that decisions are discussed with other youth and Scouters and agreed upon by the Group Committee.

For example, a Scouter buying a youth a piece of equipment for a camping trip or paying for a youth’s camp fees may seem like a selfless act, especially if the youth’s family cannot afford it. However, if it was not broadly discussed and understood, other members of the Group may perceive it as favouritism. A parent could also misinterpret the gesture.

Discussing actions upfront with parents, other Scouters and especially the Group Committee ensures that intentions are known and understood by all.

 

Does following the Code mean Scouters cannot play tag with youth?

Yes, under our current guidelines, Scouters must not play any game that involves intentionally touching youth. Scouters can still play games with youth and in doing so there might be occasions when Scouters bump into or accidentally touch youth, this is understandable.

 

What is positive discipline? How is it used?

Positive discipline reinforces good behaviour. Scouters achieve this by using positive language when applying your Section Code of Conduct with youth. For example, you can use a points system to reward good behaviour. Use positive statements; say, “We respect each other” (rather than, “We don’t disrespect each other.”). Good or improved behaviour can be acknowledged from time to time with awards.

 

What is meant by “I will not rely on just my good name to protect me?”

It is important that behaviour is appropriate and in accordance with this Code. Through actions and words, Scouters demonstrate that they behave safely around youth, regardless of what they have accomplished in the past or how well-known they are. Scouters all have a duty to ensure that they demonstrate safe and respectful conduct at all times.

 

Help Centre

Still, need help? Please feel free to contact the Scouts Canada Help Centre:

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