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 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 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.

Liability issues with hosted events

The Risk:

Liability risks associated with hosted events.

Solutions:
  • Supply written guide for organizers containing standards to be met.  
  • Use signed hosting contract (NSO-PTSO-Host committee) setting out contractual commitments. 
  • Have risk management and insurance committee driven by staff. 
  • Standardized use of waiver forms. 
  • Build proactive and collaborative relationship with insurer. 
  • Enhance role clarity for event organizers – who has jurisdiction for what aspects of the event. 
  • Offer training to PTSO technical staff to help them deliver well-organized, safe events.
  • Clearly identified financial signing authority for both host and NSO / MSO.
  • Explore national insurance program (to cover all members and partners of hosted events).
  • Develop a financial management policy, budget and reporting templates for use by host. Make the use of these templates a condition of hosting the event.
  • Negotiate performance audits in critical areas to maintain hosting standards.
  • Work with PTSO's to create hosting agreement and realistic financial model.
  • Create an emergency action plan.
  • To optimize attendance at the event, communicate / promote past successes.
  • Establish what the key legacy pieces are for your event.
  • Develop a communications plan clarifying how / who with / when / what information is shared.
  • If few organizations have the capacity to host a national event, develop a business plan to address growth.

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.

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.

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.

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.