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’.

Challenges to compliance

The Risk:

Inadequate staff capacity or expertise to ensure that organization is compliant with all requirements.

Solutions:
  • Consult with like organizations to determine how they maintain compliance.
  • Seek board members with subject expertise.

Challenges to compliance

The Risk:

Inadequate staff capacity or expertise to ensure that organization is compliant with all requirements.

Solutions:
  • Consult with like organizations to determine how they maintain compliance.
  • Seek board members with subject expertise.

Conflict resolution management

The Risk:

That a complaint, scandal, dispute, controversy or other incident between or among members will not be effectively handled and will escalate into a crisis.

Solutions:
  • Establish a sound policy framework to deal with dispute resolution (code of conduct, discipline policy, appeals policy, independent and professional dispute management). 
  • Have a crisis communication plan. 
  • Have ready access to external advisors (legal, harassment, risk management). 
  • Clarify jurisdictional issues (national, provincial, club, event) to ensure there is clarity around jurisdiction and authority. 
  • Establish good media relations in both official languages. 
  • Have a strategy in place to deal with issue and assign a trained spokesperson. 
  • Provide coaches and other key personnel with conflict resolution training and media training.  
  • Make it mandatory that national coaches are members of Coaches of Canada (thus binding them to a national code of ethics and disciplinary mechanism). 
  • Publish a comprehensive team manual containing all relevant policies and information for athletes and coaches. 
  • Prepare a briefing book for each major event and major team. 
  • Establish clear terms of reference and job descriptions for team leaders. 
  • Ensure proper internal communications with athletes. 
  • Establish and clarify the role of team captain (athlete) and provide greater education and training for this role. 
  • Offer media training to athletes, coaches, administrators, team personnel. 
  • Communicate with insurance provider to ensure appropriate coverage exists for these types of risks.
  • Declare as a True Sport organization to promote a positive image.
  • Conduct a debriefing with executive team or senior management following any incident and document learnings, and adjust policies as needed.
  • Develop and communicate clear team selection and appeal processes.

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 sound hiring practices

The Risk:

Lack of formal procedures for selecting coaches and other team personnel, lack of clarity around screening volunteers, lead to unsafe environments for national team activities.

Solutions:
  • NSO has both formal and informal procedures for screening coaches and other personnel. 
  • Have strict policies for travel, accommodation and supervision for teams. 
  • Personal coaches are restricted to very narrow responsibilities. Institute more formal selection procedures to select coaches for teams, involving application, portfolio and interview component. 
  • Implement ten safe steps of screening (See Volunteer Canada - www.volunteer.ca) with all national teams, including police checks, using a phased approach.
  • Implement ten safe steps of screening with all national teams, including police checks, using a phased approach. See Volunteer Canada.
  • Create and adhere to formal volunteer selection criteria. Provide volunteer job descriptions and expectations.

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

Poor alignment between NSO and PTSO

The Risk:

Poor alignment of system resulted in disjointed planning, and confusion as to roles and responsibilities of NSO versus PSO in the sport delivery system.

Solutions:
  • Create customized Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with PTSOs. 
  • Encourage all PTSOs to align strategic plans with pillars of Canadian Sport Policy. 
  • Convene meetings of NSO and PTSOs to better coordinate planning efforts. 
  • Ensure clear terms of reference for all committees. 
  • Examine best practices of other NSOs to determine what works well to improve alignment of planning.
  • Collaborate with PTSOs on items that may or may not affect them.
  • Develop an issue specific communications plan.
  • During times of change, set realistic benchmarks with clearly communicated timelines.
  • For larger changes that affect all members, strike small committees involving PTSOs to ensure buy in and to assist with any transition issues.
  • Have regular scheduled meetings with PTSO EDs.
  • Offer PTSOs a workshop on policy management that encourages alignment with NSO policies.
  • Include PTSOs in NSO strategic plan development as a means to develop a sense of PTSO ownership and involvement.
  • Clearly define the roles of NSO, PTSO and other sport organizations to avoid duplication of efforts and jurisdictional conflicts.

Reliance on Government Funding /OTP

The Risk:

Reliance on government funding that is tied to high performance results, and risk that this funding will not be stable or secure in the long term (political realities).

Solutions:
  • Refine and deliver a uniform development program such as RunJumpThrow, BlastOff, CanBike, Mini Ball) that can be launched nationally to build participation, member numbers, sponsor interest. 
  • Actively participate in Sport Matters Group (and if a team sport, in the Canadian Team Sport Coalition). 
  • Pursue alumni development strategies. 
  •  Pursue fundraising strategies.
  • Investigate improved investment strategies for reserve/foundation funds. 
  • Perform intellectual property audit and consider opportunities for exploiting these assets more effectively. 
  • Pursue new membership groups and new private partners.
  • Hire an expert to help identify possible revenue streams.
  • Undergo a brand strategy development process to better align with potential partners / funders.
  • Frame strategic plan against Canadian Sport Policy goals.
  • Work collectively with PTSO's to secure a "sport" sponsor.
  • Re-align business expectations with industry standards, through Imagine Canada standards.
  • Have the right staff in place to ensure top recruitment and performance.
  • Encourage athletes to pursue individual sponsorships.
  • Invest only in programs that further the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Explore using crowd-funding programs.
  • Seek in-kind donations to complement financial contributions.
  • Develop relationship management plans with sponsors as a means to maintain and extend relationships.
  • Seek multi-year sponsorship contracts.
  • Research options for foundation and private donations or grants.
  • Improve quality of project descriptions and reporting as a means to support funding and funding maintenance requests.
  • Promote the successes of athletes at high-profile events to attract sponsors.
  • Contract a marketing specialist to assist with fundraising efforts.

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.

Risk of not meeting SFAF requirements

The Risk:

Risk of not meeting SFAF requirements, which would affect funding.

Solutions
  • Participate in Imagine Canada's accountability standards program.

Risks to sport membership

The Risk:

Risk that current membership model is not appropriate.

Solutions:
  • Use a committee or poll current members on various membership structures and options.
  • For membership fees, develop a formula that is customized to member needs.
  • Where low membership is a threat to funding, consider a national database or other membership tracking system.
  • Communicate the consequences of low registration to membership.
  • Provide education on the benefits of registration, such as club support, access to coaching, insurance, and event planning.
  • Consider recruitment strategies.
  • Explore possible explanations for declining membership. May need to work with PTSOs or regions to find solutions.
  • Identify problematic regions and develop a strategy to invigorate sport participation.
  • Develop an outreach program that PTSOs can use to attract members.

Sport lacks strong international profile

The Risk:

That the sport lacks a strong profile and reputation within the international community, which inhibits competitive invitations, hosting opportunities, international funding and decision-making influence.

Solutions:
  • Undertake deliberate succession planning for international appointments.
  • Target and develop emerging leaders, and support them in their leadership aspirations. 
  • Fully fund all international delegates, and institute reporting requirements in exchange for funding. 
  • Pursue development of a hosting strategy, in conjunction with sport tourism interests. 
  • Collaborate with USA counterpart to enhance North American hosting opportunities. 
  • Support international representatives in creating a communications network/web site portal to improve communication and information sharing among them. 
  • Facility development strategy – focus on sustaining a small number of highest quality facilities in Canada, to assist in hosting efforts.
  • Educate members on opportunities available as an international federation supporter.

Sport lacks strong international profile

The Risk:

That the sport lacks a strong profile and reputation within the international community, which inhibits competitive invitations, hosting opportunities, international funding and decision-making influence.

Solutions:
  • Undertake deliberate succession planning for international appointments.
  • Target and develop emerging leaders, and support them in their leadership aspirations. 
  • Fully fund all international delegates, and institute reporting requirements in exchange for funding. 
  • Pursue development of a hosting strategy, in conjunction with sport tourism interests. 
  • Collaborate with USA counterpart to enhance North American hosting opportunities. 
  • Support international representatives in creating a communications network/web site portal to improve communication and information sharing among them. 
  • Facility development strategy – focus on sustaining a small number of highest quality facilities in Canada, to assist in hosting efforts.
  • Educate members on opportunities available as an international federation supporter.

Weak brand and profile of sport in Canada

The Risk:

Risk of not building a strong brand that could raise the profile of sport in Canada (e.g., relationships with common interest groups, brand alignment, messaging).

Solutions
  • Purposefully align events and communications with common interest groups.
  • Invite common interest groups on committees or boards.
  • Consider collaborating with other sport, recreation, education or health partners with similar goals / issues. 
  • Undergo a brand strategy development process (with communications plan) to better align with partners. 
  • Leverage LTAD into branding. 
  • Create a common logo for NSOs, PTSOs and host communities.
  • Ensure brand is reflected appropriately to various audiences. 
  • Use strong international profile when possible to build brand domestically.
  • Build awareness by partnering with a recognizable "face of the sport".
  • Develop a branding guidelines document.
  • Leverage unique aspects of the sport.

Weak leadership

The Risk:

Risk of not being seen as a system leader during times of change.

Solutions:
  • Share important information showing leadership through a communications plan to members.
  • Involve PTSOs and members in the conversation during times of change.
  • Find a way to engage certain provinces and territories and for them to champion change.

Weak organizational structure

The Risk:

Organization is not structured to optimize resource use and stakeholder services.

Solutions:
  • Review and update policies and procedures with regularity.
  • Strike staff or board committee, or sub-committee, to provide guidance and research current structure recommendations.
  • Publish current policies to ensure stakeholders have access.
  • Procure expertise (e.g., legal) to ensure updated policies are aligned.
  • Consider Club Excellence program.
  • Establish a set of corporate values and guidance principles.
  • Examine the actions of the international federation for successes and challenges.
  • Ensure athlete opinions and concerns are considered in decision making and strategic planning.