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  • Over the course of the last ten years, we have thousands of organizations that service the vulnerable sector raise the bar on abuse prevention and protection.  Policies have been written, and Administrators and Leaders have received professional development in areas of screening, documentation management, reporting and response to allegations and suspicions of abuse. We have certified over 2,000 Plan to Protect® trainers, who are now equipped with up-to-date PowerPoints, instructor notes, student notes, and creative methods of training to hold initial Orientation trainings and annual Refresher trainings.  

    We are so proud of our clients who are committed to preventing abuse.  Our business grows either through word of mouth, insurance company referrals or sadly, as a result of abuse that occurs and organizations recognizing they should have done more to protect their people. 

    Thank you for referring other organizations to Plan to Protect®.  Your vote of confidence in our resources and training is very much appreciated.  

    There are a few areas where I believe organizations are vulnerable even when they have a strong abuse program in place.  Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing my writing on these areas. 

    One area where we believe there is increased vulnerability is when organizations partner with other community groups to run a program. We often hear about two or three organizations teaming up to hold a day camp, youth events, or large community outreach.  Partnering together speaks volumes to your community that you are working together with a common purpose.  A benefit of these partnerships is to combine your resources to provide a stronger program.  

    However, it is in these scenarios that there are questions as to who is ultimately responsible.  If both organizations utilize Plan to Protect® and you both have the same insurance carrier that would reduce the challenges that could be faced if an incident occurred.  If different insurance companies are involved, a battle or dispute could arise as to who is responsible for paying out damages.  Unclear insurance coverage leaves both individuals and organizations vulnerable to lengthy and costly court battles and a delay in covering costs.  We strongly recommend that you speak to your insurance company during the early days of planning joint events with community partners to discuss the steps to take to clarify insurance coverage and to ensure that you are protected if an accident, injury or incident occurs. 

    As difficult as it is to think through worse case scenarios, during the planning stages of organizing an event the partners should decide who is ultimately responsible. We would recommend the organization with the highest standard of protection set the requirements for screening and training and protection procedures.  As Plan to Protect® manuals and policies cannot be shared with other organizations under the single license copyright guidelines, organizations are encouraged to refer community partners to Plan to Protect®. 

    Often in situations where an individual or organization identifies that they could be at a greater risk because of the partnership or relationship, they enter into a contractual agreement, which includes a joint or single indemnity clause. An indemnity clause is used when one individual or organization takes on the obligation to pay for any loss or damage that has been or might be incurred by another individual. The right to indemnity and the duty to indemnify ordinarily stem from a contractual agreement, which protects against liability, loss, or damage.  Also don’t forget to keep the paperwork!  As a reminder, all documentation involving children and youth should be kept permanently, as there is no statute of limitations in Canada for child abuse. 

    We would also recommend that you keep parents informed of the partnership(s). If you are asking parents to sign Informed Letters of Consent and Releases, the CCCC Canadian Counsel of Christian Charities recommends on Releases that you

    • Use simple words:  avoid vagueness
    • Tailor the form to the specific event, describing all necessary elements and risks
    • Don’t minimize the risks
    • Place a clear statement at the top of the page requiring the signer to read the document, give them time to read it, offering time for legal counsel review
    • Use effective headings
    • Use bright colours to highlight essential statements
    • Limit the content to one page
    • Offer to answer questions to ensure understanding

    These steps will require greater effort on your part during the planning stage.  Our goal at Plan to Protect® is never to discourage events from happening rather help you protect those that you serve, and to protect your staff and organization. Well planned and executed community events that are shared among a number of partners can reap tremendous benefits for the community and the partners.  Be safe! 

    Our review, research, development and distribution of these recommendations was undertaken with great care.  However we strongly recommend that you seek legal counsel as well as advice from your own insurance broker or insurance company so that they can provide written confirmation concerning the specifics of your own particular circumstances and requirements.  This recommendation is current as of the date of publication, and does not constitute legal advice.

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