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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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).