Policies, Standards and Procedures FAQ

 


  1. Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy
  2. Drug and Alcohol Policy 
  3. Code of Conduct Standards
  4. Volunteer Screening Policy
  5. Discipline, Temporary Suspension and Termination of Membership Policy
  6. Incident Management Standards 
  7. Learning and Development Standards 
  8. Communication Standards
  9. Camping and Facility Standard
  10. Zip Lines, Climbing Walls, Challenge and Ropes Courses Standards
  11. Animals at Activities and Properties Standards
  12. Adventure Standards 
  13. First Aid Standards 
  14. Prohibited Activities Standards
  15. Swimming Standards 
  16. Transportation Standards 
  17. Shooting Sports Standards
  18. Knives, Axes, Saws, Stoves, Lanterns and Camping Tools Standards
  19. Safety Equipment Standards 
  20. Program Standards
  21. Winter Sports Standards 
  22. Appointment of Scouters Procedure
  23. Preventing and Responding to Bullying and Harassment Procedure
  24. Third-Party Waivers, Indemnification, and Hold Harmless Agreements Procedure 
  25. Adventure Application Form (AAF)
  26. Appointment of Scouters Standards 
  27. Closing a Group Procedure 
  28. Volunteer Screening Procedure 
  29. Supporting a Person under Suspension Procedure 
  30. Group Equipment and Property Insurance Procedure
  31. Third-Party Use of Scout Property Procedure
  32. Youth Protection Reporting Procedure
  33. Complaint Procedure 

 

 

 Introduction 

This article provides answers to the frequently asked questions provided via the Help Centre regarding Scouts Canada's Policies, Standards and Procedures. If you have any additional questions about any policy, standard or procedures that are not found in this article please reach out to the Help Centre using the red Submit Request button at the bottom of this article. 

 

 

 

Scouting Values

Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy

This policy states 'Everyone has a right to participate in Scouting free from harassment, bullying, cyber-bullying, neglect, and abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional).' Who specifically is 'everyone'?
'Everyone' means all members – both youth and adult – volunteers, participants and staff.

 

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Cannabis is a legal drug, can it be consumed?
Youth, Volunteers and staff, may not be impaired while participating in Scouting activities. Many legal drugs can cause impairment, regardless of legality all must be free from any substances that could impair their ability to maintain a fun, safe Scouting environment and act as role models. For more information see Cannabis Legalization FAQ

 

 

Managing Risk

Code of Conduct Standards

As a Group Commissioner (or Active Scouter) I have to make decisions, and take actions, on behalf of Scouts Canada and my Group. Is liability insurance in place for my role assuming I am a member in good standing and follow all of the expected rules, procedures, guidelines and intent of Scouts Canada as prescribed in BP&P and the Code of Conduct?                                                                     

Scouts Canada annually acquires Not for Profit Directors and Officers Liability (D & O) insurance to provide protection for its Directors and Officers at all levels of the organization down to and including Group Committees, and all Scouts Canada volunteer and members, their estates and their lawful spouses – providing members are in good standing, and their actions are not knowingly negligent, illegal, or in contradiction to our BP&P.

 

Volunteer Screening Policy

Who does the Volunteer Screening Policy apply to?
It applies to all volunteers throughout all levels of Scouts Canada; volunteers 14 years and older, staff, Rovers, Venturers completing an Youth Offers of Service, Parents and other resource people (paid and unpaid, provided by and not provided by and agency).

 

When is a parent "assisting" rather than "observing", for the purposes of the five-meeting limit?                            A parent helper provides active support to the Scouting program for the purposes of the five-meeting limit. The intent of this item in the Volunteer Screening Procedure is to prevent individuals who are not screened from appearing to youth as trusted adults. Some common sense and good judgement (erring on the side of caution) will need to be applied by Section Scouters when deciding whether a parent is assisting or observing.

 

Why can't family members be used as character references for the purposes of volunteer screening?                      As part of our volunteer screening process, we ask for references from diverse backgrounds who can provide a well-rounded perspective of the applicant’s character and ultimately his or her suitability as a Scouter. Immediate family members have an inherent bias due to the nature of their relationship with the applicant and thus do not serve as objective character references.

 

Can Scouts Canada accept a Police Records Check (PRC) with Vulnerable Sector Check/Screening (VSS) completed for another organization (Girl Guides of Canada, Schools, Special Olympics, etc)?

No. The Criminal Records Act requires that a VSS be conducted for individual positions. This means that Scouts Canada cannot accept a PRC/VSS unless it explicitly states that it was requested for a Scouts Canada role, even if it was requested for a similar or like-minded organization. In the case where an inappropriate PRC/VSS is provided, the individual will be asked to provide a new PRC/VSS in order to complete their screening.

 

Discipline, Temporary Suspension and Termination of Membership Policy

What is intended by “statutory offence” - in some provinces this can include Driving offences, Fish and Wildlife Offences, Fisheries Act Offences?
In Canada, various statutes regulate individual behavior.  Violation of such a statute, while it might not rise to the level of a criminal offence, could impact an individual’s ability to meet Scouts Canada’s membership standards.   All potential suspensions are managed by the Safe Scouting team to ensure consistency and procedural fairness.  In most cases, minor offenses (e.g. driving offences) would not be grounds for suspension.

 

 Who conducts reviews and what process do they follow?
All incidents involving youth protection and safety are conducted by the Safe Scouting team. It is their role to follow Scouts Canada’s Youth Protection Operating Procedures and to ensure consistency across all reviews. The team works to protect all members and is accessible to provide support 24/7.

All incidents involving Performance Management, unrelated to Youth Safety, will be conducted by the pertinent CK3, commissioner or delegate as per the Discipline and Performance Management Standard. The Safe Scouting Team provides a stewardship role to coordinate submission of the reviews to the National Review Board when a suspension or termination is recommended.

 

What are the qualifications and training or those who conduct the review? How will they be selected?
The Youth Safety reviews are conducted by members of the Safe Scouting team who have specialist training in youth protection and bring considerable career-experience in managing youth protection concerns.

 

Incident Management Standard

If a youth is injured at a large event who is responsible for submitting the incident report?
The Designated Scouter in Charge of the youth (or ‘Contact Scouter’), as listed in the COAA Form (or AA Form), is responsible for submitting the incident report. The Scouter in Charge is responsible for the well-being of youth placed in their care. The Scouter in Charge is also responsible for communicating incident information to parents/guardians and families.

 

Are Group Commissioners responsible for storing incident report records?
No, Scouts Canada does not expect GC's to store incident report data
– these are submitted via the SafeScout App and stored centrally.

 

What does it mean in the standard “We will review all incidents”?
All incidents will be reviewed by a qualified staff member in the Safe Scouting department. Based on experience and best judgement, Safe Scouting will determine the best approach to review an incident. This will vary from a review of the submitted paperwork for example for a minor first aid, through to a comprehensive review requiring a lead investigator for more serious incidents.

 

When are leads assigned to conduct a review?
All incidents are assigned impact ratings and categorized as minor or major. When an incident is categorized as major, a detailed review may be initiated by Safe Scouting.

 

If an incident has occurred but it does not match a ScoutSafe report form type, how can I report?
You can report your concern to safety@scouts.ca for appropriate follow-up.

 

If I do not have access to the ScoutSafe app how can I report?
The ScoutSafe app is our primary method of reporting incidents. If you are unable to report using the app you can contact safety@scouts.ca for assistance.

 

When is an incident an emergency? And who determines the escalation to enacting the Emergency Response Plan (ERP)?
An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. Most emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation. An incident, to be an emergency, conforms to one or more of the following: if it:

  • Poses an immediate threat to life, health, property, or environment
  • Has already caused loss of life, health detriments, significant property damage, or significant environmental damage
  • Has a high probability of escalating to cause immediate danger to life, health, property, or environment

The Scouter-in-Charge will make a best judgement decision together with the local responsible party to determine if an emergency should be called.

 

Do all incidents and injuries have to be reported in an incident form: any bump, scratch, and papercut?
At minimum, any injury requiring more than basic first aid to be administered must be reported in an incident report. A good rule of thumb: If you would inform a parent at ‘pick-up’ at the end of a meeting – then inform Scouts Canada with an incident report. Note: In most workplaces, it is expected, even mandated (or legislated) that all injuries first aid and greater need reporting. As an organization, we learn a lot from incident data – as safety professionals will know – minor injury data, even near-misses, informs an organization’s leaders of future potential risks and hazards and prevents injury.

 

When older-section youth are participating without a Scouter present – who acts as the Scouter-in-Charge?
Please refer to the Adventure Standard for the most up to date definitions / requirements:

  • “Every Scouts Canada activity must have a designated Scouter (“Scouter in Charge”) who has agreed to co-ordinate planning and supervision. The Scouter in Charge, also often referred to as the “Designated Responsible Scouter” or “Contact Scouter”, is the principal Scouter designated to be accountable for risk management, leadership, overall safe execution of a specific activity or event and has the overall responsibility for the safety of the youth in their charge.”
  • “When senior-section youth participate with no Scouters present, a designated youth may assume the role and responsibilities of the Scouter in Charge during that portion of the activity in which Scouters are not participating. This is defined and agreed as part of the Adventure Activity Approval process and associated communication.”

 

Learning and Development Standard

What is a “Learning Management System (LMS)”
An online learning and development delivery and tracking system including qualification and certification management. The LMS used by Scouts Canada is the David Huestis Learning Centre (DHLC) and the software is Brightspace – D2L.

 
What does it mean “the Learning Management System administered by the Scouts Canada Program & Volunteer Services team on behalf of Scouts Canada will serve as the system of record / source of truth for competency and certification information?
A centralized electronic system or physical location which has been declared as the trusted repository for organizational data and information for purposes of business analytics, decision-making, or fulfilling business or regulatory needs. The data / records held in this database will be the only records / data that are considered valid. It is the responsibility of the individual and Group Commissioner to ensure this database is accurate.

 

Will there then be a process for vetting and approving ‘external’ certifications for use within Scouts and how do these map against WoodBadge I or II requirements?
With the move to a self-assessment based Competency framework, the Scouter is able to ‘credit’ themselves for similar competencies between the external learning and development and the required Scouts Canada competencies. Ideally, this will be a collaborative approach working with a section Support Scouter. This is equally applicable for Wood Badge I and II.

 

If all mandatory learning programs and solutions have to be coordinated / contracted through the Scouts Canada Program & Volunteer Services team – does this include skills-based learning such as how to use a GPS, light fires, pioneering etc.?
No, common-sense should apply. It is both impractical and bureaucratic to have central program review for all skills-based learning. Formal, mandatory learning and development of the curriculum for Canadian Path, WBI and WBII courses will be managed centrally.

 

 

Structure, Responsibility and Authority 

Communication Standard

Is there a formal process for identifying, generating, approving, and issuing information to appropriate stakeholders?
Scouts Canada staff members may submit a Production Request to the Communications Production Manager outlining their objectives and actions required. Scouts Canada volunteers may refer to their Relationship Manager.

 

How do I know if my communications are for audiences beyond Group and Section program and Scouting operations?
Recruitment or fundraising communications through social media or printed materials are considered Scouting operations and do not require contact with the Communications function—although visiting the Brand Centre for resources and guidelines is strongly recommended. Contact your local Scouting Relationship Manager to advise on the communication type.

 

When do I have to involve the Communications function for media relations?
A communication about an incident (Safety / Child & Youth Safety), emergency incident, or a significant business disruption require contact with the Communications function or Scouts Canada’s Media Relations representative. For local coverage about Scouting events or programming, no contact with the Communications function is required.

 

If we want to use videos on social media, are we required to gain approval via Scouts Canada’s Communications function first?
In most practical instances, no. If in doubt given the nature of the materials proposed, then ask the Communications function. In all video materials on social media, ensure they conform to all the requirements in the Code of Conduct.

 

Where should we go to get information and approved materials approved on Scouts Canada strategy and culture?
Scouts.ca is the central repository for approved and standardized materials for broad distribution. Specific additional materials are made available to Scouts Canada Key 3 members for communication within functions and councils.

 

 

Asset Management

Camping Facilities Standards

The Standards indicate “Beaver/Cub camping facilities must include a weather-resistant shelter or building.” Does this need to be a permanent shelter or building?
No – portable shelters such as “hot-tents”, large expedition tents, or Adirondack-style shelters are also suitable. What is important, is a secondary location where you can guarantee to be able to keep youth or adults warm, protected from the elements and safe in case of inclement weather.

 

The Standards indicate that there must be separate accommodation, based upon gender identity, for adults (including parents, adult resource people and Rover Scout participants. Does this mean that spouses cannot share a tent?
Spouses may share accommodation.

 

Can a sheet be used to separate a row of bunks to ensure that separate sleeping accommodations are provided?
In principle, yes, but, use appropriate means to ensure that privacy is maintained to the satisfaction of the youth and individuals concerned – including ability for changing in private, hygiene arrangements and sleeping.

 

What about shared accommodation for a Cub Scout joining the Troop on a camping trip as a linking activity?
Group Commissioners may grant exceptions.

 

Can Siblings share a tent if they are not in the same Section?
Group Commissioners may grant exceptions.


Can a parent and their child (youth member) share a tent?
Group Commissioners may grant exceptions.

 

Zip Lines, Climbing Walls, Challenge and Ropes Courses Standards

Why was ACCT chosen as the standard? Why do we have to pay to see ACCT standards?
ACCT standards are the most common standards for these activities.

 

Do these Standards apply to rappelling?
Sections planning rappelling activities should research and follow safety standards for this activity.

 

Does the Standard apply to professionally-operated High Ropes, Climbing and High-Adventure Facilities and structures?
No. The Standard is intended to apply only to either temporary climbing, high-ropes, high-adventure structures that are set up for Scouts Canada activities (eg. Climbing towers, major event / Jamboree temporary structures) OR permanent structures at Scouts Canada owned and / or operated properties for Scouting activities (eg. Camp Impeesa and Camp Woods high ropes and climbing towers). Professional; high ropes, indoor and outdoor climbing facilities and high-adventure facilities must adhere to their own industry standards and regulations in order to operate.

 

Animals at Activities and Properties Standards

Do people bringing service animals to properties and activities need to prove the animal is certified?
According to the Accessible Customer Service Procedure: If it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the customer for reasons relating to his or her disability, we may request verification from the customer.

Verification may include:

(a) A letter from an appropriate regulated healthcare provider confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
(b) A valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada;
(c) A certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.

 

 

Group Operations

Adventure Standards

Can we put Beaver Scouts in canoes?
Yes, provided the appropriate training and risk management strategies are in place and effective. See Swimming Standards for a detailed description of perimeters. 

 

If we’re planning on only canoeing with Beavers wearing life jackets at all times – are we able to canoe without additional controls described in the swimming standards?
No. As stated in the Swimming Standards it is applicable to all aquatic and / or swimming-activities. Aquatic / Swimming activities include, but are not limited to: swimming, paddling, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, boating and sailing. For Beavers to canoe they must meet or exceed the swimming standards in addition to the watercraft standards.

 

Does this mean that only Packs, Troops, Companies, and Crews may participate in swimming and aquatic activities at pools and waterfronts not supervised by certified lifeguards? i.e. Beavers can canoe in areas only with supervised lifeguards?
Yes. Only Packs, Troops, Companies, and Crews may participate in swimming and aquatic activities at pools and waterfronts not supervised by certified lifeguards. i.e. Beavers may only participate in swimming and aquatic activities at waterfronts with supervised lifeguards. This is irrespective of whether there is planned swimming (with canoeing for example) or the youth are all wearing life jackets. At all times the Swimming Standards for Beavers must be maintained.

 

We don’t have any ability to meet the aquatic and swimming standards for Beavers to canoe where we are – what should we do?
There are many exciting adventures for the younger youth to look forward to in Cub Scouts and older sections. Perhaps have them simulate canoeing in a weekly meeting, Beavers love to be creative and imaginative, demonstrate a simple forward stroke. Practice a scenario when a canoe overturns and they swim to shore. Let them determine their simulated aquatic adventure.

 

Is an electronic copy of the completed Adventure Application Form (AAF) acceptable or is a physical, signed, copy required?
Yes – an electronic copy of the completed AAF, e.g. PDF, is acceptable – including the version in ScoutsTracker.

 

The ScoutsTracker 3rd party application has integrated automatic Adventure Application Forms (AAFs) completion and submission – can these be used instead of the paper or pdf copy?
Yes, Scouts Canada has worked with the developer of ScoutsTracker to ensure the AAF submission is consistent with Scouts Canada requirements. The submission of the AAF electronically via ScoutsTracker and electronic signing by the Scouter-in-Charge and Group Commissioner is acceptable for Scouts Canada purposes. It is desirable that a PDF version be downloaded (via the ‘print’ option) and archived by the GC external to ScoutsTracker.

 

Is it okay if a Scouter submits a Camping & Outdoor Activity Application instead of an Adventure Application Form (AAF)?
No, Camping & Outdoor Activity Applications were accepted until the end of the 2019 calendar year. Beginning January 1, 2020, it has been expected that all Scouters will exclusively use the new Adventure Application Form (AAF).

 

First Aid Standards

The Standard indicates, “In all activities where there are 25-50 participants there shall be at least two qualified first aiders and one additional qualified first aider for every additional 50 participants." Why does the requirement for qualified first aiders double when there are more than 24 participants?
There is a strong correlation with increasing participants and increasing risk – associated with increased incident rates. The new Policy is consistent with those of other youth-serving organizations, provincial camping associations as well as provincial Occupational/Workplace Health & Safety Standards.

 

Standards indicate, “There shall be at least two qualified first aiders at every Category 2 and Category 3 activity where there are fewer than 25 participants.” Why does the requirement for qualified first aiders double for higher risk Category 2 and Category 3 activities?
The Policy is consistent with those of other outdoor adventure and youth-serving organizations, provincial camping associations as well as provincial Occupational/Workplace Health & Safety Standards.

 

If we cannot recruit two/three qualified Standard First Aiders do we need to call off the event?
Yes,the event cannot proceed without sufficient qualified first aiders (with Standard First Aid or above). As a reminder, the first aiders do not need to be Scouters, and there may be an opportunity to recruit a parent or other certified individual. Our goal should be for every youth to be appropriately competent in emergency aid, particularly for Category 2 and Category 3 adventurous activities. Youth should be prepared to respond to emergencies. This is part of our goal to prepare them for success in life.

 

How do we define 'Medical Care Facility?'
Medical care is defined as: Facilities where a physician or registered nurse is always readily available (including 'on-call').

 

How do we measure the distance from Medical Care?
Measuring this distance will depend on where you are. If you are camping in a provincial park, how long will it take you to get to the nearest hospital? On the other hand, if you are in the back country, how long will it take you to walk or paddle to the trail head and then coordinate transportation to the nearest medical facility? Emergency medical flights (neither helicopter nor plane) should not be factored into consideration when planning.

 

How do we measure the distance from Medical Care when travelling?
During planning, you will need to consider the distance from Medical Care at various points on your route (either by vehicle or foot/paddle). If you are camping in a provincial park, how long will it take you to get to the nearest hospital? On the other hand, if you are in the back country, how long will it take you to walk or paddle to the trail head and then coordinate transportation to the nearest medical facility? Emergency medical flights (neither helicopter nor plane) should not be factored into consideration when planning.

 

How do we define "access route that can take an ordinary road-going ambulance?"
Best judgement should be used. Normal roads are best, but it is recognized in some rural areas gravel roads or seasonal ice roads are used that can (and do) have the ability to take a road-going ambulance. The key question the Scouter in Charge and GC need to ask is “can we realistically provide access to an ambulance within 3 hours from where we are located if an emergency arises?”

 

Who is the 'Scouter in Charge' and what are they responsible for?
The'Scouter in Charge' is referred to in the updated First Aid Standard and is the signing Scouter on the Camping & Outdoor Application Form. The Scouter in Charge is the principal Scouter that is accountable for risk management, leadership, overall safe execution of a specific activity or event and has the overall responsibility for the safety of the youth in their charge. On behalf of the Group Commissioner, this Scouter is responsible to ensure that all standards and expectations are met or exceeded as well as being the point-of-contact Scouter for the activity or event. This is not a Scouter role registered in MyScouts and does not require additional screening.

 

There are specific locations in which we operate that have no existing medical facility - e.g. islands/parts of Newfoundland - how do we handle the First Aid Standard requirement? re: medical care?
In specific locations where there are no existing (permanent) medical facilities e.g. islands/parts of Newfoundland, the Group Commissioner can provide an exemption for First Aid Standard requirements; however, it is strongly advised that there are always 2 qualified first aiders as much as practical. It is the assumption that in the geographic locations - the municipal or local government body will already have identified the risk in the regional HSE and ERP plan for the region/municipality in the design of the provision of required health centres.

 

Can Groups receive financial support to help with the cost of First Aid training?
In general, this needs to be accounted for by the Group in its annual planning and budgeting process. Of note - there are funding organizations that Groups can apply to for financial assistance. In addition, Scouts Canada is working to identify beneficial rates and terms for Scouts members from approved service providers and will make them available to members when agreed.

 

Can we get other service providers for First Aid?
Scouts Canada recognizes Standard First Aid training or equivalent that is recognized by provincial health and safety authorities.

 

WorkSafeBC recognizes Level 3 workplace safety training as a substitute for Wilderness First Aid. Does Scouts Canada to the same?
Scouts Canada recognizes Standard First Aid training or equivalent that is recognized by provincial health and safety authorities. In addition, for BC, Occupational First Aid (OFA) Level 3 (British Columbia) is considered an equivalent/substitute for Wilderness First Aid and can be approved as such by the Group Commissioner upon receipt of an active certificate.

  

Prohibited Activities Standards

Are Nerf Gun battles and Archery tag permitted?
No, all activities in which a projectile is aimed at another person are prohibited.

 

Are we permitted to tow a person behind a motor vehicle – for example, a boat, snowmobile, four-wheeler, or any other vehicle (e.g. tubing behind a boat, sledding behind a snowmobile etc.)?
No, as much as these activities can be safely conducted by professional organizations, these are not permitted in Scouting and are prohibited activities.


Why is trampolining a prohibited activity?
Trampolining can result in accidents ranging, from sprained ankles and wrists to skull fractures and spinal injuries. As this activity is not core to our program, it is prohibited.

 

Swimming Standards

When participating in aquatic / swimming activities at public / municipal pools, established waterfronts and third-party aquatic facilities – what constitutes “staffed by aquatic personnel”?
Aquatic Personnel would be trained and qualified Lifeguards hired by the third-party facility.  

 

What is an “Aquatic Activity Supervisor” – the Lifesaving society uses the terminology “lifesaver” for people with Bronze Cross certification – are these the same?
Scouts Canada uses the term “Aquatic Activity Supervisor” to indicate the person (Scouter / qualified youth) that is responsible to provide supervision for an aquatic activity / swimming for Scouting members. The minimum qualification for an aquatic activity supervisor is a current Life Saving Society Bronze Cross (must be current within the last 24 months).

 

Can a trained / qualified youth be an Aquatic Activity Supervisor?
Yes, an aquatic activity supervisor can be a youth. Youth who are being asked to assume a first aider or Aquatic supervisor role for an activity should be informed of the expectation and their parents should give consent.

 

If we hire / attract a Lifeguard volunteer, can they attend under the same rules as a parent helper or is additional screening needed (PRC)?
Additional parents, youth, 3rd parties may be hired to support the activity. They must meet the appropriate screening requirements as applicable to the event as detailed in the volunteer screening policy. Requirements will vary by event duration, location and type.


When members swim without qualified supervision and Scouters act as “Lookout Scouters” – is additional formal training required?
No additional formal training (e.g. Lifeguard, bronze cross, SafeGuard etc.) is mandated – but is highly recommended.

 

If “at least two Scouters (age 18 or older) are required to act as Lookout Scouters for groups of 1 – 16 swimmers” when there are no lifeguards, does this mean when Troop Scouts or Venturers are adventure-tripping alone (without Scouters) that they may not swim?
Correct – Troop and Companies wishing to swim without further adult supervision should gain the training and necessary qualification to act as the dedicated “Aquatic Activity Supervisor”. Youth are encouraged to be the designated person – and are encouraged to take the necessary personal development to achieve this.

 

If they can’t pass the swim test, they wear a PFD. If we have youth stay in shallower areas because they are not strong swimmers – can they stay in areas of the pool (supervised) where they can stand up without the need for a PFD?
For Scouts Canada aquatic activities, all youth participating need to wear a PFD in all water depths if they do not pass a swim test.

 

If the swimming event is being held at a municipal pool with qualified lifeguards do the youth still need a swim test for the Scouting activity?
Yes, all youth participating in an organised Scouts Canada swimming or Aquatic activity must have successfully completed an annual swim test. It is recommended this is planned for well in advance of any Scouting event to prevent challenges.

 

How does a Swim test get conducted? Can we record this in MyScouts? Is “proof of swim level certification required?”
Swim tests are conducted by trained Aquatic Activity supervisors or Lifeguards. The swim test must match the conditions of the environment. Best practice is for a youth to have a swim test to meet the ‘Swim to Survive’ standard assessed in a swimming pool, in addition, a ‘conditions of the environment’ test to match the adventure activity. For example, a warm swimming pool test is not appropriate prior to a late fall, early spring river-based white-water trip, where the cold water has a major effect on swimming ability. 

We are investigating the ability to update MyScouts to be able to record the annual swim test and swimming certification. No, swimming certification certificate is not required – it is provided as an entry by the parent/guardian. An appropriate, additional, ‘conditions of the environment’ swim test is always required.

 

Why do I have to repeat the swim test each year and why in different conditions?
A swim test confirms from the most basic safety perspective and ability of a member to participate in aquatic activities? Swim tests should be conducted in the type of conditions to be experienced – for example, a swim test in a warm municipal pool is very different from a swim test in cold water in an Alberta glacial-fed river or early Spring Ontario lake – with different conditions there are different risks.

 

Transportation Standards

The Standard indicates, “Parents are responsible for arranging transport of their children to and from group and section scouting adventures.” Does this include local activities such as weekly meetings? A bottle drive or community event?
Yes. This has been the Policy for several years – Parents are responsible for arranging transportation of their children to and from any Scouting activity. This includes arranging transportation by family members or other parents taking children to and from the activity.

 

Do the new Standards mean that Scouters are permitted to transport youth to Scouting events and adventures?
Parents are responsible for providing or arranging transport of their children to Scouting events and adventures. Scouters who drive Scouting members (youth or adult) to and from events and adventures do so at their own risk.


If Scouters are not permitted to transport youth, then why do the Transportation Standards indicate that “The two-Scouter rule applies in all situations…including while transporting youth?
Parents are responsible for providing or arranging transport of their children. While Scouts Canada strongly recommends the Scouters do not transport youth, there may be situations where this is unavoidable. It is important that Scouters recognize that should they transport youth, they do so at their own risk, and as in all engagement with Scouting youth, the two-Scouter rule must be followed at all times.

The Standards indicate that “When parents or other adult helpers are transporting youth…two adults must be in the vehicle at all times.” How can Scouts Canada enforce this?
Scouts Canada cannot, but we recommend that parents follow the prudent safety measure of ensuring that there are two licensed drivers in any vehicle when transporting youth in order to avoid driver distraction or if one of the drivers becomes unable to operate the vehicle for any reason.


Am I covered by Scouts Canada’s insurance Policy if I rent a vehicle and transport youth to a Scouting event?
Scouters transporting youth in a personal or rented vehicle do so at their own risk. We recommend when using a personal vehicle, to have at minimum a total of $2 million in insurance coverage (not $2 million per person / youth). Note – at all times when Scouters are transporting youth they must adhere to the Two-Scouter rule and Code of Conduct.

Scouters requiring a rented vehicle for official Scouts Canada business, for example required for use at and during an organized event, jamboree or official Scouts Canada National meeting, are covered by Scouts Canada’s insurance policy for liability, and for damages if the vehicle has been rented in the name of Scouts Canada by a full time employee, using the employee’s Corporate AMEX credit card, granted your name is included as a driver of the vehicle. This excludes section and group events, adventures and ‘normal’ meetings, for which Scouters will require to make arrangements for themselves with the parents. Guardians of youth.

For rentals not using the AMEX card, you as the renter are required to purchase insurance through the rental company for damage to the vehicle. We also recommend the driver be insured through personal insurance to protect them from any personal liability.

Note: Capacity of vehicles used for Scouting are limited to the capacity of 7 passengers or less. Private renters should check their insurance coverage and policy for any other limited liability and associated provincial regulations.



How should the Scouter in charge confirm that private vehicles of parents are “licensed and insured and operated by correctly licensed and insured operators?" What responsibility rests with the Scouter in charge?
There is no requirement for the Scouter in Charge to know this information – nor should they ask. Scouts Canada is not responsible for ensuring that parents are legal to be on the road.

 

When we are transporting youth during an activity, do both Scouters need to be qualified drivers?
We encourage it to help with preparedness in the case of an emergency, but it is not required. We only require the driver be licenced and insured 

 

Shooting Sports Standards 

Can Beavers participate in Range Activities or Archery?
No. The policy prohibits Beavers (Colony) youth from participating in range shooting and archery. This is consistent with age-appropriate guidelines and policies of other youth-serving organizations and national Scouting organizations.

 

The Standard specifically mentions that we allow Cub Scouts to shoot longbows and crossbows. What about compound or recurve bows?
The choice of other bows should be made in conjunction with archery experts. At all times, the Group Commissioner, in conjunction with the Scouter in Charge, needs to assure themselves that proper safety considerations are being taken, including: Right place, right time, right skills, right tools.

 

Are Nerf Guns, Laser Tag, Water guns or other simulated-firearms, which are classified as “toys”, permitted in Scouting?
While Nerf guns, Laser Tag and water-guns may be classed as toys, and thus not classified as ‘shooting sports’. All activities in which a projectile is aimed at another person are prohibited.

We understand that several sections use nerf and/or water guns for teaching purposes e.g. readiness for archery in Cub Pack. This type of safe, controlled scenario where nerf guns/water guns are used for target practice in a range setting would be considered appropriate use of these toys for youth development purposes and thus consistent with the intentions of Scouting and the Canadian Path. We recommend that as part of your risk assessment, you should consider the use of eye protection when running any activity involving projectiles that have the ability to cause harm. In addition, the use of simulated firearms may not be appropriate for all audiences and sensitivity in this regard should be considered. At all times, the Group Commissioner, in conjunction with the Scouter in Charge, needs to assure themselves that proper safety considerations are being taken, including: Right place, right time, right skills, right tools – and alignment with the program intentions and outcomes in support of the Canadian Path.

 

Knives, Axes, Saws, Stoves, Lanterns and Camping Tools Standards

The Standards indicate that youth may only use knives where the blade shall be no longer than 10 centimetres (4 inches). Does that mean that we cannot have kitchen knives at camp?

Research shows that longer the knife blade, the more serious the injury when the knife is used incorrectly, this is the reason for the 10cm/4in standard.

The Group Commissioner may approve other knives at camp as long as they are detailed in the Camping and Outdoor Activity Application and there is an appropriate risk management plan. Anyone using a knife for cooking is advised to wear cut-resistant gloves. 

 

Does this mean that I cannot bring a hunting knife to camp?
You may bring a hunting knife if the Group Commissioner has approved it as part of the Camping and Outdoor Activity Application and there is an appropriate risk management plan.

 

Can Group Commissioners grant blanket approval for kitchen knives?
No. The Group Commissioner should be reviewing each outing plan with the Section to make sure we have the right people in the right place with the right training and equipment. Of note - personal safety incidents relating to cuts and knives are the single largest root cause for incidents to youth and members in Scouts Canada - accounting for more almost 40% of reported injuries of which knives account for almost 16% of total Scouts Canada injuries. In addition, kitchen knives and activities involving food preparation are the greatest areas of reported injuries to youth. These statistics are consistent with Nationwide themes on injury prevention for youth and adults.

 

Do I need to submit a Camping and Outdoor Activity Form for non-camping and outdoor type activities (ie. knife safety, cooking at the BP banquet)?
A: Regardless of where the activity takes place, these standards apply. The Adventure Activity Form (AAF) will only be required as part of the risk assessment for Camping and Outdoor type activities. Of note - personal safety incidents relating to cuts and knives is the single largest root cause for incidents to youth and members in Scouts Canada - accounting for more almost 40% of reported injuries, of which knives account for almost 16% of total Scouts Canada injuries. In addition, kitchen knives and activities involving food preparation are the greatest areas of reported injuries to youth. These statistics are consistent with Nationwide themes on injury prevention for youth and adults.

 

Are cutlery knives (in personal mess kits) subject to the "All other knives are not permitted in Scouting activities without the express approval" clause?
No. Common sense - balanced with appropriate risk management - should prevail with the evaluation of a youth appropriate cutlery set used for personal mess kits.

 

Safety Equipment Standards 

Are helmets required for indoor rock climbing?
A Group Commissioner may provide an exemption to the helmet requirement for indoor climbing gyms if they are satisfied it is within acceptable risk tolerance. Typically a climbing gym will have conducted a risk assessment for this purpose and may have an "optional" helmet policy.

 

Emergency Management Standard 

How do we get access to Scouts Canada Properties, Camps and Councils Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) – can we use these or adapt these for our purposes.
ERPs should be available from the responsible team (e.g. Camp Committee, camp booking services or Property Team) and ideally posted on a website or suitable electronic format. In some instances, ERPs are only available posted as a hard-copy on location. GCs and / or Support Scouters should enquire when booking the site. Yes, the site-specific ERPs can be used and adapted for use by the relevant section / group.

 

When different Sections (e.g. Colony, Pack, Troop, Company and Crew) are using the same building or facility or attending the same adventure (e.g. a linking camp) is it necessary to develop independent ERPs?
While not mandated it is advised. Each Section may have different risks and hazards pertinent to their members. An ERP is not designed for Scouters alone – but is to be used as a learning tool for youth. Discussing an ERP with Beaver-age youth needs to be entirely different from the approach used for Venturers – likewise, a meeting hall poses different hazards and risks for Venturers than it does Cub-age youth.

 

How do you practically test the effectiveness of an ERP?
In section or meeting ERPs can be tested using drills – for example, a simulated fire in a meeting hall. Best practice is to involve all members, youth, parents and Scouters. For more extensive ERPs, for example emergencies in the outdoors, backcountry or of a larger scale e.g. wildfire, consider making the exercise a youth-led simulation and incorporating fun with learning. Of course, there may be no practical reason to involve emergency services – although, in some cases, this can be the basis of a great community adventure.

 

Program Standards

The Canadian Path is quite complex – how do we manage the balance in planning with Program Areas, SPICES, Outdoor Adventure Skills etc.?
A good practice is to work with the Section Leadership Teams (Youth) and focus on enabling them to develop plans that consider visiting all of the six Program Areas annually. This does not have to be equal weighting, nor do they all have to be outdoors. Balance and diversity are key. Once the frame is created with the program areas – let the youth consider which Outdoor Adventure Skills (OAS) they’d like to develop as part of the adventures in each program area. This may be an iterative process until they gain familiarity with the program areas and OAS. Once a quarter, work with the youth in the Section Leadership Teams to review the program against the SPICES. Using coaching and facilitating techniques, help the youth discover which areas may benefit from revisiting. In this way, the SPICES and program outcomes can be delivered annually with a program planning focus on the six program areas.

 

Where can I go to get additional support for Canadian Path implementation?
As Scouters, leverage the Canadian Path Navigator and examples therein to support. A self-assessment, ideally conducted with the youth, but also a plan and focus for next steps. The Scouts.ca website is redesigned to provide materials, templates and best practice examples. In addition, you Group’s Support Scouter or staff person (Relationship Manager) is there to be able to get you access to the wide network of groups and councils who have numerous examples to support you and help you be successful.

 

Winter Sports Standards

Can youth cook and / or camp in “hot tents”, cabins and purpose-built tents designed for safe use with a trail wood stove, heater or other safe winter camping practice?

Yes – providing appropriate risk management and the use of the right tools, right skills, right place, at the right time. Specific review of the potential for fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and other hazards and risks must be explicitly included in the Emergency Plan and Adventure Application Form and discussed in advance with the youth and Scouters.

While most small nylon tents should never have stoves or lanterns (other than LED ones), used in them or in their vestibule due to the danger of carbon monoxide, it is a safe common practice, for example, to use candle lanterns to warm up quinzhees (but not leave them on while sleeping). It is also safe common practice to have purpose-built reflector fires in front of lean-tos and tarp shelters when campers are trained in safe practices. Lastly, there is a widespread traditional winter camping practice using large canvas tents with chimneys / vents for purpose-built trail wood stoves inside for cooking and heating.

 

 

Procedures Management, Leadership, Commitment and Accountability

 

Appointment of Scouters

Which Wood Badge l do Scouters require?
You can view Wood Badge Part l requirements here.

 

 

Preventing and Responding to Bullying and Harassment Procedure

Who does the Bullying and Harassment Procedure apply to?                                                                                        The Bullying and Harassment Procedure includes bullying and harassment of volunteers, members and staff.

 

 

Managing Risk 

Third-Party Waivers, Indemnification, and Hold Harmless Agreements Procedure

Many downhill skiing locations include a waiver on the back of the ski-lift ticket. Can a Scouter pay for the tickets, recognizing that there is no ability for the parent to sign the waiver (which is integrated into the ticket itself)?

Yes – a Scouter or Group may pay (on behalf of the participants) for ski lift tickets, including when a waiver is integrated into the ticket itself, providing the following criteria are met:

  • As per the Adventure Standard - Higher risk activities including downhill skiing are a Category 3 “Red” activity and require completion and Group Commissioner approval of an Adventure Application Form (AAF) and completed (signed) Parental Consent Forms prior to the activity.
  • Parents/guardians should be given sufficient information along with the waiver (if available - typically on the skiing website) to make an informed decision whether to agree or not. Signing the Parental Consent Form is considered acceptance of the risk and waivers required by the ski hill.

 

 

Adventure Application Form (AAF)

Is an electronic copy of the completed Adventure Application Form (AAF) acceptable or is a physical, signed, copy required?
Yes – an electronic copy of the completed AAF, e.g. PDF, is acceptable – including the version in ScoutsTracker.

 

The ScoutsTracker 3rd party application has integrated automatic Adventure Application Forms (AAFs) completion and submission – can these be used instead of the paper or pdf copy?
Yes, Scouts Canada has worked with the developer of ScoutsTracker to ensure the AAF submission is consistent with Scouts Canada requirements. The submission of the AAF electronically via ScoutsTracker and electronic signing by the Scouter-in-Charge and Group Commissioner is acceptable for Scouts Canada purposes. It is desirable that a PDF version is downloaded (via the ‘print’ option) and archived by the GC external to ScoutsTracker.

 

Is it okay if a Scouter submits a Camping & Outdoor Activity Application instead of an Adventure Application Form (AAF)?
No, Camping & Outdoor Activity Applications are no longer accepted, this was beginning January 1, 2020, it is expected that all Scouters will exclusively use the new Adventure Application Form (AAF).

 

 

People

Appointment of Scouters Standards

Which Wood Badge I do Scouters require?
You can view Wood Badge l requirements in detail here. Section Scouters complete Wood Badge l for The Canadian Path, Group Committee members complete Wood Badge l for Group Committee and Group Commissioners complete Wood Badge l for Group Commissioners.

 

Closing a Group Procedure

When a Group closes, if the youth move to another nearby Group, can the funds and equipment be transferred to that Group?
This can be considered and decided by the Council Key 3 (CK3) as part of the Group Closure Procedure.

 

Volunteer Screening Procedure  

When is a parent "assisting" vs "observing" for the purposes of the max 5 meeting limit?
An "assisting" parent will be providing active support to the Scouting program for the purposes of the five meeting limit. The intent of this item in the Volunteer and Employee Screening Procedure is to prevent unscreened individuals from appearing to youth as trusted adults. Some common sense and good judgement erring on the side of caution will need to be applied by Section Scouters.

 

Why are the ratios for World Scout Jamboree’s different? They don’t require two Scouters.
World Scout Jamborees, and other international events, are generally for older youth so the ratio is 9:1. Participants are organized into Jamboree units with 36 youth and 4 adults.

 

Why can't family members be used as character references for the purposes of Volunteer and Employee screening?
As part of our Volunteer screening process, we ask for references from diverse backgrounds who can provide a well-rounded perspective of the applicant’s character and ultimately his or her suitability as a Scouter. Immediate family members have an inherent bias due to the nature of their relationship with the applicant and thus do not serve as objective character references.

 

Temporary Suspension & Termination Procedure

Who conducts reviews and what process do they follow?
Reviews are conducted by the Safe Scouting team. It is their role to follow Scouts Canada’s Youth Protection Operating Procedures and to ensure consistency across all reviews. The team works to protect all members and is accessible to provide support 24/7.

 

What are the qualifications and training or those who conduct the review? How will they be selected?
The review is conducted by members of the Safe Scouting team who have specialist training in youth protection and bring considerable career-experience in managing youth protection concerns.

 

The Procedure indicates that an adverse report from a credible source may invalidate an individual’s membership/application for membership. What constitutes a credible source?
Credible sources would include law enforcement, provincial child protective services or a professional or regulatory body such as a provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons or College of Teachers.

 

Supporting a Person Under Suspension Procedure

What types of training have the Support Scouters received?
Support Scouters have a thorough understanding of the Suspension of Termination Policy and Procedure as well as any related sections of BP&P. They will be able to respond to Scouter’s questions and if further clarification is required will be able to get answers quickly.

 

The procedure indicates that the Support Scouter “will be appointed by the person responsible for suspending the member”. Who is this person?
The Director of Safe Scouting will manage all suspensions and appointments of Support Scouters. Council Key 3's are no longer tasked with this.

 

 

Asset Management

Group Equipment and Property Insurance Procedure

Are Groups required to obtain equipment insurance? 

We ask that when possible Groups are to acquire insurance for equipment. If circumstance ever prevents insurance from being obtained and the Group is unable to insure equipment, they must establish a reserve fund to repair or replace equipment that is damaged or destroyed.

 

Third-Party Use of Scout Property Procedure 

Do other organizations need to adhere to our Policies, Standards and Procedures such as Two-Scouter, First Aid and Safety Equipment?
Yes. Scouts Canada has established minimum Standards for supervision, safety and first aid that apply to all users of our camps and properties.

 

Youth Protection Reporting Procedure

The procedure indicates that members may “raise concerns or report allegations (related to youth protection issues) in confidence, without fear of repercussions. Does this mean that my name will be kept confidential? How will Scouts Canada protect me from repercussions?
Your identity will only be disclosed to police or child welfare authorities. Your identity will not be disclosed in any Scouts Canada action or communication regarding your report.

 

Complaint Procedure

The Procedure indicates “complaints will be handled by the most local commissioner.” Does this refer to Group Commissioner or Council Commissioner?
It depends upon the nature of your concern. For example, if it relates to a section or Group issue, then the Group Commissioner is your contact. For a Council-wide issue, contact it would be your Council Commissioner. 

 

Will Scouts Canada maintain confidentiality? Where is that documented?
As per the Procedure, your identity will only be disclosed to the police or child welfare authorities as required. Your identity will not be disclosed in any Scouts Canada actions or communications regarding the complaint or the incident.

 

 

Help Centre

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

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