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 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 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 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.

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.