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 internal processes

The risk:

Operational procedures are not fully developed, consistent or do not meet minimum legal requirements.

Solutions:

  • Schedule a regular review of all internal processes.
  • Create a task force with assistance from an external consultant.
  • Create a staff Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual.
  • Develop a protocol and policy to manage intellectual property.
  • Integrate Imagine Canada standards.
  • Conduct risk assessment when stepping outside standard operations or procedures.
  • Use organizational values when making decisions.
  • Create clear job descriptions and organizational chart to ensure confidence.
  • Perform cost benefit analysis between hiring and re-organizing.
  • Ensure all organizational information is secure and is regularly backed-up.
  • Host regular all-staff meetings to share updates and answer questions.
  • Have access to passwords in case of emergency.
  • Have an elected staff member as a representative for compliance regulations.

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 strategic planning

The risk:

Failure to use strategic plan to its full advantage.

Solutions:

  • Develop a communications plan for board of directors and general membership.
  • Integrate priority strategic items into operations plan.
  • Use strategic plan as a guide when assessing the feasibility of new projects.
  • Undertake regular environmental scan to monitor and plan for risk.

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 governance and board operations

The risk:

The risk of a weak governance structure at the board level.

Solutions:

  • Create a formalized process of board member training and evaluation.
  • Review sub-board committee structure to ensure alignment to strategic plan.
  • Identify a process of board selection that reflects the organization's vision, mission and values.
  • Identify possible leaders with targeted skills and expertise for board members.
  • Undertake regular environmental scan or SWOT analysis (Strength/Weakness/Opportunity/Threat) to monitor and plan for risk.
  • Create a governance manual which outlines current policies and procedures, as well as relevant job descriptions which carry executive authority.
  • Develop a succession plan for board, senior staff and key volunteers.
  • Develop a communications plan to clearly show how the board makes decisions.
  • Use organizational core values to enhance decision making (Management by Values approach).
  • Consider the Club Excellence Program (www.clubexcellence.com) to enhance club operations and staff training.