Risk Registry

The Canadian Sport Risk Registry contains a number of common risks and is updated following each Risk Management Workshop. The risks and solutions are presented generically and anonymously, to provide insight for sport leaders to think differently about the risks that are ‘keeping them up at night’.

Lack of financial stability

The risk:

Cash flow difficulties and inadequate resources result in board and staff time being spent managing short-term financial problems, versus working towards long-term solutions and more important objectives.

Solutions:

  • Establish a credit line to bridge short-term financial needs. 
  • Budget conservatively at all times. 
  •  Establish strong internal financial controls. 
  • Institute an audit committee and give it the expertise and authority it requires to oversee finances effectively. 
  • Develop an investment strategy to ensure maximum leveraging of existing assets. 
  • Review staffing structures to ensure optimal use of human resources. 
  • Recruit board members with financial experience. 
  • Pursue alternative funding sources through fundraising, merchandising, marketing, corporate sponsorship, alumni giving, crowdsourcing or IP leveraging. 
  • Look for financial savings through collaborative or cost-shared programs such as insurance. 
  • Explore staff secondment opportunities through corporate partners. 
  • Clearly articulate and communicate member benefits to boost membership. 
  • Look at potential membership areas currently not tapped, and alternative partners (industry, municipalities, schools). 
  • Review strategic plan to determine if it is aligned with current reality – may need to change expectations and performance objectives.
  • Review programs / services and eliminate those that provide little value to members. 
  • Establish an appropriatea small surplus and reserve fund. 
  • Undergo a brand strategy development process to better align with potential partners / funders. 
  • Consider Club Excellence Program participation for access to financial management audit and review 
  • Apply an ethical code of standards to accounting and fundraising practices.

Lack of inclusion

The risk:

Risk that all who want to participate in a sport activity do not feel safe or welcome.

Solutions:

  • Develop and implement policies for gender (e.g., girls on boys’ teams), transgender, and LGBTQ2S inclusion.
  • Connect with CAAWS to see what resources could be used to educate coaches and athletes on this issue.
  • Explore a campaign to sensitize coaches about the power of language and acceptable conduct.
  • Have effective code of conduct in place, and ability to implement disciplinary measures in a professional manner.
  • Be clear that the organization does not discriminate and welcomes of diversity.
  • Explore funding opportunities for athletes with financial challenges.

Lack of safety procedures

The risk:

NSO lacks appropriate policies and enforcement mechanisms to promote a safe environment for all participants. Organizational culture also works against a safe and secure environment.

Solutions:

  • Review Code of Safety on a regular basis and update as required.
  • Assign a liaison to all hosted events to oversee implementation of standards.
  • Consider using insurance levers to promote compliance with national standards (e.g. if standards not met, insurance coverage does not apply to the event). 
  • Emphasize safety issues in all coach educational materials. 
  • Use national team athlete profiles to promote safety message. 
  • Ensure national coaches employment contracts include language pertaining to compliance with Code of Safety. 
  • Have effective code of conduct in place, and ability to implement disciplinary mechanisms in a professional manner. 
  • Focus on key messages re: risks of underage drinking.Link this to messages around sport excellence and professionalization of coaching. 
  • Bring NSO leaders together for a facilitated retreat to discuss risks and to refine strategies to change the culture within the sport. 
  • Recognize that organizational culture does not change overnight - it might take until the next generation of athletes to see desired changes.
  • Ensure thorough compliance with applicable Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations.
  • Refer to “Conflict resolution management” section regarding crisis management planning, and apply to safety scenarios as appropriate.

Managing competing priorities

The risk:

Not being able to determine or decide which projects or programs to prioritize, and which to decline or discontinue.

Solutions:

  • Use part-time staff, temporary staff, or contractors when appropriate.
  • Explore partnership opportunities with PTSOs to complete projects.
  • Invest only in programs that further the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Review strategic plan to reconcile which current priorities are

Participant Health and Safety

The risk:

That the inherent nature of the sport has potential for an unsafe environment: youth of participants, coach-athlete power dynamic, body-image issues, coaches from other cultures, parental attitudes, long training hours, strong emphasis on performance not balanced with safety measures.

Solutions:

  • Institute Respect in Sport program with all coaches, and encourage board members and staff to take it as well. 
  • Provide educational programs and resources to members on coaching ethics. 
  • Include ethics module in NCCP training programs. 
  • Have adequate policies to deal with ethics and discipline issues. 
  • Institute minimum requirements for coach certification. 
  • Provide clubs with risk management policies, education and resources. 
  • Develop an issues management protocol to establish guidelines for communications and media management, in the event of an incident or other crisis. 
  • Provide clubs, organizers and events with appropriate medical protocols and guidelines.  
  • Develop and implement a coaches code of conduct.
  • Develop written agreements with delivery groups in which they agree to share risks and fulfill responsibilities
  • Explore other best practices (e.g., sport, recreation, education, health). 
  • Establish a safety committee which does annual safety inspections at all training facilities.
  • Ensure all facility staff have adequate medical training.
  • Have HP athletes undergo a yearly health screening.
  • Ensure orientation and training of staff and volunteers as required (e.g. OHS, Violence in the workplace).
  • Offer training in ethical decision making
  • Pursue Club Excellence certification for all clubs
  • Take steps to use True Sport brand more intentionally.
  • Review relevant documents with regularity to ensure they are up to date (e.g., discipline policy and procedures, reporting procedure, coach and athlete agreements, codes of conduct).
  • Compare safety policies and procedures with those of other NSOs.
  • Use Coaching Association of Canada and Respect in Sport resources.
  • Develop education and communication strategies to share safety information.
  • Provide athletes with useful information about lifestyle balance, nutrition, anti-doping, etc.

Risk of athlete injury

The risk:

Risk that an athlete injury will end their career or have long-lasting effects.

Solutions:

  • Educate athletes and coaches about preventative measures to reduce likelihood of injury.
  • Be a champion for research and safety developments for injuries predominant in your sport.
  • Consult with other sports who deal with similar types of injuries.