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 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 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.

Lack of sport participation

The risk:

Risk of sport not being included in major games due to lack of influence / knowledge on selection criteria, capacity to develop the sport and increase participation.

Solutions:

  • Educate membership on selection criteria for major games.
  • Make changes to strategic plans which align with provincial selection criteria.
  • Look for diversified funding and partnership / collaborative opportunities.
  • Work collaboratively with membership in building tools and activities for development. 
  • Strike committees to plan and evaluate high-performance path, drawing on previous experience.
  • Aim to develop high-performance talent outside of traditional talent pool areas.
  • Provide coach development and mentoring opportunities.

Managing stakeholder expectations

The risk:

Risk that services delivered to stakeholders will not be up to standard.

Solutions:

  • Adjust the size of deliverables to reflect current capacity to deliver.
  • Be sure to match the budget to the deliverables.
  • Clarify stakeholder expectations by communicating clear standards of delivery.
  • Hold a stakeholder consultation or outreach through survey or interview to build understanding and shared outcomes.

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.

Weak communications

The risk:

That internal and external communications are ineffective and do not support the effectiveness of the NSO.

Solutions:

  • Hold a full staff retreat annually (at minimum).
  • Increase the frequency of management staff meetings. 
  • Have all national coaches meet face-to-face twice per year to improve communication and information sharing. 
  • Prepare a communications plan - if required, adapt for different stakeholders / partners, and various media. 
  • Pursue a social media strategy – outsource for expertise. 
  • Do regular telephone calls with PTSO leaders, to keep them updated. 
  • Prepare minutes of all meetings (e.g. Board, Committees) quickly and post on the web site. 
  • Do member satisfaction surveys on a regular basis using technology like Survey Monkey. 
  • Provide orientation materials to all new committee volunteers. 
  • Use web site intranet to improve internal communications. 
  • Consider conducting committee and Board business more regularly on Skype.  
  • Issue regular communiqués to the membership – electronic newsletter or email blast. 
  • Plan communications activities around upcoming hosted events.
  • Centralized member database to target consistent messaging to appropriate demographic.
  • Include high profile athletes in communications strategy.
  • Provide media training for relevant volunteers / staff / athletes.
  • For events involving multiple parties, create a multi-party agreement (with guidelines) on communication protocol
  • Cost share with PTSO's or other NSO's for translation services.
  • Have a board member spokesperson.
  • Develop clear stakeholder communications so their expectations are aligned with the organization’s mission.
  • Develop orientation programs for all relevant scenarios including pre-Games, employment, coaches, etc. Consider using e-learning tools.
  • Ensure branding is consistent across platforms and levels.
  • Find opportunities to piggyback on events as a means to increase profile.
  • Capitalize on resources for athletes provided by third parties.