Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
April 24, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Risk Assessment



International activities can pose varying levels of risk to the participants; such levels are categorized as either manageable (including moderate and some higher risk activities) or unmanageable.  For each new Laurier-affiliated international activity, the Principal Investigator/ Activity Coordinator should undertake a risk assessment and develop a risk management and safety plan.  In the case of solitary participation on an international activity, the solitary participant carries out the initial risk assessment and submits it to the appropriate Person in Authority for approval.


Assessing Risk

Risk assessment requires exercising sound judgment, drawing on expertise and experience, consultation with qualified sources, and knowing the context of the proposed activity.   The risk assessment for a group of 25 participants on a field trip will be very different than that for 3 participants with the same proposal.  Similarly, the level of experience of the Team Leader and participants needs to be taken into consideration, as well as the specific areas where the activity will take place.  The extent of advance planning, preparation and training required prior to embarking on an international activity is proportionate to the level of risk associated with the activity, and the category and experience of the participants.

 

Manageable Risk

All international activities, regardless of type or destination, come with a minimum level of moderate or higher risk.  Departments may wish to establish criteria to decide what activities will fall into a moderate or higher risk category.

 

Moderate Risk entails hazards that are similar to or incrementally greater than those encountered by participants in their everyday lives.  As shown in table 1, countries and regions that have no travel warnings listed by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) are listed as moderate risk.

 

Higher Risk entails hazards that are significantly greater than those likely to be encountered by participants in their everyday lives, but for which proper planning and preparation can safely manage the potential for risk.  Any activity that involves travel through or to a country or region for which a travel or health advisory is in effect is deemed to be a higher-risk activity; in some circumstances the risk may be evaluated as unmanageable.

 

Unmanageable Risk

Following the review of the Risk Management and Safety Form for Coordinators of International Activities, and taking into account the context of the activity, category of participants and resources available, an activity may be deemed to entail unmanageable risk and not be approved by the Person in Authority.  Some examples of activities that might involve unmanageable risk include; travel to war zones, travel to areas with high medical risks, travel to areas with high risk of natural disasters.

 

Risk Ratings for Countries and Regions

The risk rating system as outlined in the table below is to be used in helping to decide whether University activities should be undertaken in particular destinations (country or a region of a country).   The Risk Rating System is based on information generated and maintained by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), and updated daily on their Travel Reports section on their website: www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca. 

 

Table 1: Risk Ratings for Countries and Regions of Countries

Department of Foreign Affairs Canada Rating

University Risk Rating

1)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the country.  Canadians in this country should leave.

Country:

Unmanageable Risk

2)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the country.  Canadians in the specified region(s) of the country should leave.

Country:

Unmanageable Risk

3)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises against all non-essential travel to the country.

Country:

Higher/Unmanageable

4)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the specified region(s) of the country.  Canadians in the specified region(s) should leave.

Region:

Unmanageable Risk

5)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the specified region(s) of the country. 

Region:

Higher/Unmanageable Risk

6)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises to exercise high degree of caution while in the country, but no travel warning

Country:

Moderate Risk

7)   Foreign Affairs Canada advises to exercise normal security precautions, but not travel warning

Country:

Moderate Risk

Travel to Moderate Risk Destinations

Provided that students, student groups, faculty and staff follow the appropriate risk management procedures, pre-departure orientation, and Safe Travel Support Program of this policy, the Person in Authority will normally approve student travel for University activities to locations rated as Moderate Risk (and some Higher Risk).

 

Travel to Unmanageable Risk Destinations

The University should not approve students travel for University activities to countries or regions rated as Unmanageable Risk.  Students who individually choose to travel to Unmanageable Risk locations, or participate in activities not approved by the university, do so at their own risk. 

 

Under certain circumstances, graduate students may be given permission to pursue individual research projects or academic work in a location rated as Unmanageable Risk.  This will be considered only after proper risk management assessment has been completed by the student in consultation with the Person in Authority and Laurier International, and approval has been granted.

 

Changes to Risk

Should the Risk Rating of a location change while students are participating in an international activity, participants should be advised of this change by the Activity Coordinator.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator/ Activity Coordinator and Laurier International to follow changes to travel warnings and discuss the ramifications.  Laurier International will play an advisory role, however the decision to make changes to an international activity will be made by the appropriate Person in Authority.