From SCOUTS CANADA’S TRANSPORTATION POLICY, FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, posted by Ilan Yampolsky, Director of Child and Youth Safety on 14 August 2013
Q. Are Scouts Canada volunteers permitted to drive, or otherwise provide transportation to, Scouting youth to and from Scout meetings or activities?
A. No, Scouts Canada does not permit its volunteers to transport Scouting youth because our programming, and thus our insurance coverage, contemplates only the activities we conduct and not the transportation to and from such meetings and activities. As such, transportation is generally not a part of the Scout meeting or activity. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians of Scouting youth, and not Scout volunteers, to ensure that the Scouting youth can safely get to and from the Scout meeting or activity.
Q. May I transport youth outside of my capacity as a Scouts Canada volunteer, such as when I transport my own child’s friends or I assist parents who otherwise cannot transport their children to Scout meetings or activities?
A. Because transportation is not part of the Scout meeting or activity, if volunteers decide to transport youth, they do so at your own risk. In such a situation, the Scout volunteer must let the parents and the youth know that the transportation is not part of the Scouting event and that the volunteer is personally responsible for safety and insurance. Additionally, because the driver would not be acting in his or her capacity as a Scouts Canada volunteer, he or she should not wear the Scout uniform during this transportation and should instead put it on upon arrival at the meeting or activity. Although such transportation does not fall within the purview of Scouts Canada’s rules, it is strongly recommended that those who drive Scouting youth adhere to the Code of Conduct and Two-Leader Rule during transportation.
Q. As a parent, what should I be aware of when a Scout volunteer drives my child?
A. Generally, transportation to and from Scout meetings and activities is not part of the Scout program itself; rather, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children get to and leave from the meeting or activity safely. If a Scout volunteer drives your child, you should understand that
- the volunteer is doing so outside of the purview of Scouts Canada programming, and thus outside the insurance coverage and safety regulations of Scouts Canada;
- the volunteer is personally responsible for the safety and insurance coverage of his or her passengers;
- although the volunteer is not required to comply with Scouts Canada safety regulations during this non-Scouting matter, it is highly recommended that another adult accompany the child as a matter of best safety practices.
Q. May a volunteer rent a vehicle to transport youth?
A. Again, because transportation is not part of the Scout meeting or activity, if a volunteer decides to transport youth, the volunteer does so at his or her own risk. Renting a vehicle is strongly discouraged. Anyone who rents a vehicle to transport youth does so entirely at his or her own personal and financial risk. As stated within this document, such transportation must not be associated with Scouts Canada, and all youth and their parents must be aware that the transportation is not part of the Scouting event. “Scouts Canada” must not be named or appear on the rental agreement.
Q. May Scout Groups purchase a vehicle, such as a bus, to transport youth?
A. No. Scouts Canada insurance does not cover transportation or vehicles, and we are not responsible for vehicle maintenance and driver training and certification. Volunteers who purchase vehicles for use to transport Scouting youth do so at their own personal risk. It is highly recommended to hire transportation services from a charter company when needed instead.
Q. Are Scouting youth who have valid driver’s licences permitted to drive fellow youth members?
A. As discussed in this document, because transportation is not part of the Scout meeting or activity, if Scouting youth decide to transport other youth, they do so at their own risk. They must let the other youth and their parents know that the transport is not part of the Scouting event and that they, or their parents, are personally responsible for safety and insurance.
Q. What kind of transportation is meant to be encompassed by this transportation policy? Does this rule include driving to remote trailheads? Does it include sharing a canoe with Scouting youth?
A. Generally, Scouts Canada’s transportation policy prohibits our volunteers from transporting youth when that transportation requires (1) some sort of licence or certification to operate the method of transportation or (2) insurance to operate the method of transportation. Thus, a volunteer generally may not transport youth in a car because the volunteer must carry a driver’s licence and be insured to drive, and Scouts Canada’s insurance does not cover the volunteer’s driving regardless of how remote a trailhead is. If a volunteer decides to transport youth in such a circumstance, he or she must do so pursuant to the guidelines in this document. In contrast, because a canoe does not require a licence to operate nor does it require insurance, sharing a canoe with youth is not prohibited under the transportation policy. Similarly, typical non-motorized outdoor activities in which Scouting youth partake generally do not fall under the transportation policy. Note that for other forms of transport such as canoes or bicycles, at least two volunteers should keep the group within sight and earshot to comply with the two-leader rule.
Q. If Scout volunteers cannot drive youth members, how can we run activities, such as bottle drives and Apple Day, where driving seems to be an inherent part of the activity?
A. Transportation is not part of the Scout meeting or activity, so if volunteers decide to transport youth, they do so at their own risk. It is the responsibility of the parents of Scouting youth, and not Scout volunteers, to ensure that the Scouting youth can safely get to and from the Scout meeting or activity. Therefore, it is suggested that Scout volunteers enlist the assistance of parents to transport their youth and for parents to make arrangements among themselves to transport each other’s children. For example, parents can drive the youth (and Scout volunteers) to and from an Apple Day location and, if needed, ferry them from location to location. Alternatively, Scout volunteers who decide to drive the youth can explain to parents and youth that such transportation does not fall within the purview of Scouts Canada programming and insurance, as outlined elsewhere in this document. Regardless of who is driving, as a matter of best practice, it is strongly encouraged that all adults in such a situation adhere to the two-leader rule and Code of Conduct despite the fact that transportation is not part of the program.
Q. What are the rules when transportation has been arranged with a third-party, such as a bus company or an airline?
A. When transportation has been arranged with a third-party as part of a Scouting activity, that transportation is part of the Scouting activity and all Scouts Canada rules apply; in particular, volunteers should ensure that they comply with the Two-Leader Rule and Code of Conduct. Because third-party carriers are in the business of transportation, they are responsible for their own safety procedures and insurance. For long distance transportation, charter services should be hired in accordance with BP&P section 19002.
Q. Do third-party transportation carriers’ employees need to comply with Scouts Canada screening policies?
A. Any adult non-members who are in a position of trust, or otherwise undertakes leadership responsibilities over Scouting youth, must comply by our screening policy. Thus, a bus driver or airplane attendant who has only incidental interaction with our youth during transportation would not need to comply with the screening policy. In contrast, a kayak guide who instructs Scouting youth would need to comply with the screening policy: for example, a day guide would need to sign our Code of Conduct, and an overnight guide would require a signed Code of Conduct, a clean PRC and VSS, and completed CYS training. See Scouts Canada’s screening policy for more information about screening and supervision of non-member adults.
Q. Where can I get more information about Scouts Canada’s transportation policy?
A. Scouts Canada’s transportation policy can be found at BP&P sec. 10004, and our Duty of Care is outlined in BP&P sec. 7000. If you have additional questions, would like to seek clarification regarding whether a particular form of transportation falls under this policy, or would like to learn more about our insurance coverage, please contact your Area Support Manager.