Audit of Recreation Policies and Programming Frameworks

January 2015

7055-21-23 (ADM(RS))

Reviewed by ADM(RS) in accordance with the Access to Information Act (AIA). Information UNCLASSIFIED.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

ADM(RS)

Assistant Deputy

CAF

Canadian Armed Forces

CFMWS

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services

DGMWS

Director General Morale and Welfare Services

DND

Department of National Defence

OPI

Office of Primary Interest

PSP

Personnel Support Program

Results in Brief

Overall Assessment

  • The CAF and CFMWS have developed and implemented a comprehensive recreation programming framework, although improvements are required.
  • Management responds to evolving community needs, but has retained a higher than necessary level of responsibility for program delivery.
  • Policies that govern vulnerable sector security screening, management oversight, and specified activities require greater collaboration and nationalization.

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and their families are employed throughout Canada and abroad. During their careers, military families may be required to relocate to new and sometimes remote or detached communities that lack the support services, such as recreation facilities, service clubs, and leisure activities, that are otherwise available in most progressive Canadian municipalities. The CAF has recognized that it has an obligation as a good employer to ensure that personnel and their families have access to a reasonable level of goods, services, and support that may not otherwise be available.1

The Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS), through the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, established as a separate employer under Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act, delivers morale and welfare programs to members of the military community on behalf of the Department of National Defence (DND). This is accomplished through a Non-Public Fund accountability framework, with provisions for a combination of non-public and public support. As applicable, the CAF, DND, and CFMWS may collectively be referred to as the Defence organization, henceforth.

In order to improve the health and well-being of military members and their families, which ultimately contributes to operational success, base and wing commanders are responsible for ensuring access to community recreation programming. Responsibility for developing policy and providing guidance and direction related to recreation belongs to CFMWS. A comprehensive policy suite covers a range of programs and activities, including aquatics, skating, minor sports, and clubs, such as auto hobby, diving, and karate, among others.

The objective of this audit was to provide assurance with respect to the adequacy of governance and oversight mechanisms and risk management strategies and practices to ensure that the CFMWS recreation program is following relevant internal and external policies, directives, and standards.

Findings and Recommendations

Governance and Oversight

Recreation Management Oversight. Recreation clubs are self-governing, authorized entities that afford members of the military community the ability to choose from a range of recreational activities that are of interest to them. There are approximately 285 active clubs on bases and wings, such as auto hobby, woodworking, diving, skating, and gymnastics. Some of the clubs have inherent risks, particularly those like auto hobby and woodworking, given the hazardous equipment, chemicals, and nature of the activities in their respective facilities. The audit team observed a requirement for improved oversight of these facilities and club administration to ensure that adequate maintenance, care of facilities, and physical inspections are completed by relevant stakeholders. Best practices were identified at bases and wings that had implemented policies to ensure the personal safety of members, such as requiring two people to be present at all times, and strong financial controls and activity oversight were also observed. While these best practices were locally driven, they could be translated into national standards to reduce overall risk.

It is recommended that Director General Morale and Welfare Services (DGMWS) provide direction, that oversight processes be implemented to ensure regular and ongoing inspections (planned and unannounced) of all recreation facilities, and that risk-reducing best practices be incorporated as national standards.

Policy Collaboration. The Defence organization has a comprehensive suite of policies that govern the delivery of recreation programming. Activities are subject to relevant legislation and regulations, as well as internal and external guidelines and directives. These are often aimed at ensuring consistency and completeness of processes that ultimately protect participants and those responsible for program delivery.

Standards and processes relating to mandatory swimming pool closures and wait times prior to reopening after a fouling were inconsistent and in some cases excessive, resulting in interruptions to military operations and recreation programming. It is recommended that consultations take place between program managers, preventative medicine policy authorities at Canadian Forces Health Services, and all aquatics supervisors to establish consistent pool closure and reopening standards relating to fouling that meet the necessary health and safety requirements, yet with the least impact on operations.

Climbing wall or rock climbing clubs and activities operate at eight bases and wings and, although there is no national policy or guidance with respect to climbing, bases and wings have developed site-specific standard operating procedures. If the Defence organization does not establish overall standards for instruction and equipment construction and life cycling, it will be at risk in the event of physical injury to participants. It is recommended that a policy specific to rock climbing be developed and incorporated into the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Policy Manual, consistent with sections devoted to high-risk activities.

Governance Structure of Recreation Program Delivery. As communities and municipalities that surround bases and wings have grown over the past several decades, the Defence organization has retained too much responsibility for recreation program delivery. The CAF is expected to provide a reasonable level of services that are not otherwise available in the surrounding community. However, in many cases, it is now duplicating services that are readily available to members and their families by other service providers. Further, an increasing number of program users are members of the general public, rather than members of the Defence community for whom the services were intended. Where appropriate, there are programs in place that would facilitate transferring and sharing recreational program delivery responsibility with other community stakeholders. Defence community members live, work, and pay taxes in municipalities near bases and wings. The Defence organization has, in some cases, absolved these municipalities of their responsibility to provide social programming to its citizens.

It is recommended that, with coordination and support from CFMWS, the Environmental Chiefs of Staff, through base and wing commanders, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of recreation programming by leveraging internal auxiliary programs. Additionally, it is recommended that they take measures to transfer and share responsibility with external stakeholders in the surrounding communities where CAF families are located.

Risk Management

Vulnerable Sector Screening. Through community recreation programs, personnel of the Defence organization, as well as volunteers and contractors, are placed in a position of trust or authority over several thousand vulnerable persons.2 Children and youth are most commonly associated with being vulnerable and take part in community recreation through a range of programs such as swimming and sports activities. Through stakeholder consultations, the audit team identified other groups who would be deemed vulnerable, as well as sections within the Defence organization that ought to be completing vulnerable sector screening on personnel. Governance and oversight of the vulnerable sector screening processes has not been sufficiently addressed throughout the Defence organization. Screening processes were observed to be weak or missing at all the bases and wings visited. This was attributed to a lack of centralized guiding policy and organization-wide assignment of accountabilities and responsibilities. CFMWS was notified of this finding, and it took immediate measures to issue a policy with respect to vulnerable sector screening. However, this was done independently of other DND and CAF organizations, and its effectiveness has not yet been assessed.

It is recommended that Vice Chief of the Defence Staff develop policy and issue direction for vulnerable sector screening that would outline roles and responsibilities, ensure recourse mechanisms, and include screening tolerance guidelines and provisions for information management.

Note: Please refer to Annex A—Management Action Plan for the management response to the ADM(RS) recommendations.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

Members of the CAF and their families are often required, by virtue of their service to Canada, to relocate to new communities that are sometimes detached or remote. These communities may lack the support that is otherwise available to most Canadians in a civilian environment, such as service clubs, commercial recreation outlets, and municipally supported recreation facilities and programs.

The CAF recognized that, as a good employer, it had an obligation to provide a reasonable level of goods and services to its personnel and their families, which they would otherwise have access to in progressive Canadian communities. Over time, community recreation programs have been developed and carried through the CFMWS PSPs to meet the needs and interests of CAF members and their families.

Community recreation programs provide members of the military community with essential opportunities to cultivate health and well-being and to integrate into their communities through leisure activities. Recreation helps military members maintain total fitness and reduce mental fatigue, tensions, and frustrations that develop from their daily work. On CAF bases and wings, recreation is delivered through a variety of programs, clubs, and activities that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each community. Popular clubs and programs include auto hobby, recreational sports, day camps, swimming, yoga, movie theatres, bowling alleys, wood hobby, skating, and many more. Bases and wings periodically conduct assessments to identify opportunities where programming modifications are warranted in order to meet the evolving interests of stakeholders. At fiscal year-end 2013/14, there were a reported 285 active recreation clubs, 5,837 instructor-led programs, and 219 special events serving 98,813 active clients. To deliver this program, more than 300 DND facilities are utilized, including aquatic centres, arenas, and gymnasiums.3

The CFMWS’ PSP has adopted HIGH FIVE, Canada’s only comprehensive quality standard for children’s sport and recreation. Year after year, the number of staff members trained in HIGH FIVE continues to increase and is comparable to other recreation service providers such as municipalities. The PSP has modernized service delivery by implementing Book King, an online scheduling, registration, and member management system. It also regularly updates recreation program offerings to meet the evolving demographics and interests of the Defence community.

1.2 Objective

The objective of this audit was to provide assurance to the Chief of the Defence Staff with respect to the adequacy of governance and oversight mechanisms and risk management strategies and practices to ensure that the CFMWS recreation program is following relevant internal and external policies, directives, and standards.

1.3 Scope

The audit examined existing policies, directives, standards, and guidelines and their implementation. In reviewing programming frameworks and service delivery, the audit assessed oversight regimes, internal controls, performance measures, and internal processes. Activities were examined from February 1, 2014, to May 30, 2014, at headquarters and at sample locations.

The audit scope did not include Specialty Interest Activities, which will be the subject of a subsequent audit.

1.4 Methodology

The audit was performed in three phases: planning, conduct, and reporting. A risk assessment was executed during the planning phase of this audit to confirm the audit objective and identify areas requiring more in-depth review during the conduct phase.

Based on the risk assessment, audit criteria were developed that addressed the overall audit objective.

The methodology used to address the audit’s objectives consisted of the following:

  • reviewing relevant Government of Canada, DND, CAF, provincial, and industry legislation, regulations, policies, directives, standards, and guidelines;
  • interviewing management, staff, and other relevant stakeholders from CFMWS headquarters and five selected bases and wings;
  • consulting with subject matter experts from Chief Military Personnel, Chief of Reserves and Cadets, Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), Director General Defence Security, Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, and the Canadian Forces Health Services organizations; and
  • conducting visual inspections of facilities at selected bases and wings.

1.5 Audit Criteria

The audit criteria can be found at Annex B.

2.0 Findings and Recommendations

2.1 Governance and Oversight

Recreation Management Oversight

Although there were some strong internal controls observed, the Defence organization is exposed to unnecessary risks due to insufficient management oversight of activities in potentially hazardous environments.

Recreation clubs are created to meet the needs and interests of the military community. Community members are afforded the ability to choose from a range of activities and have an opportunity to participate in the planning, organization, and operation of the club. Somewhat unique to the military community are facilities for recreational uses such as auto and wood hobby clubs. These clubs offer members a valuable leisure outlet that may otherwise be difficult for them to develop and sustain on their own due to frequent relocations throughout their careers.

Auto and wood hobby shops present inherent dangers, given the equipment, chemicals, and nature of the activities in their respective facilities. The facilities for these clubs are typically located away from the main recreational buildings on bases and wings and are dedicated for the sole purpose and use of the club. Recreation directors and coordinators are responsible for ensuring safety and security of authorized recreation activities, as well as administrative oversight. Planned maintenance and inspections are shared responsibilities on bases and wings and are subject to scrutiny by a variety of internal and external stakeholders. The audit team expected to find that recreation directors periodically inspected facilities, that appropriate safeguards and inspections were conducted by preventative medicine personnel and the fire marshal, and that Material Safety Data Sheets were posted in facilities where chemicals are used. While conducting site visits in support of this audit, anecdotal accounts of events were provided of situational health and safety incidents occurring. The audit team observed an apparent lack of inspection by responsible stakeholders as evidenced by faulty equipment, chemical leaks, and a lack of Material Safety Data Sheets. A challenge faced by recreation program managers is that they do not always have independent access to club facilities to exercise their oversight role.

Best Practices

  • Two-person minimum policies
  • Cashless systems
  • Vehicle tracking system

In addition to managing the inherent physical risks associated with auto and wood hobby clubs, it is essential that recreation directors maintain strong financial and administrative controls in order to manage the program resources, and that they incorporate practices to deter members from using club resources for personal gain. The audit team observed that some bases and wings had implemented strong best practices to mitigate both the physical and financial risks associated with these clubs. A two-person minimum policy was observed at one base, whereby two people must be present at all times for equipment to be used in facilities with hazardous equipment. In the event of an accident, the second person is present to provide or call for emergency assistance. One auto hobby club implemented a sticker system for vehicle registration, by which members were only permitted to bring their own vehicles into the facility and were required to provide proof of ownership at the time of registration. This control is intended to reduce liability and deter members from completing work on other vehicles for profit rather than hobby, allowing more space and time for all members to participate in this activity. Supplies and tools are important components of these clubs and are often sold or loaned to members, sometimes for a fee. Especially in auto hobby clubs, a large inventory of supplies and a high number of transactions necessitate a system of financial control. Financial control best practices observed included centralized membership registration and payment to ensure proper documentation and collection of fees and cashless clubs, where only debit or credit transactions are permitted, allowing management oversight and reporting of transactions. While the above-mentioned best practices were observed at specific bases and wings, implementation of similar controls has not been completed systemically.

ADM(RS) Recommendations

  1. Provide direction and implement oversight processes to ensure regular and ongoing inspection of all recreation facilities (planned and unannounced).

OPI: DGMWS

  1. Incorporate risk-reducing best practices as national standards in the PSP Policy Manual to ensure consistent implementation.

OPI: DGMWS

Policy Collaboration

Greater collaboration with internal and external stakeholders is required to strengthen policies and internal processes.

Recreation programs, activities, clubs, and events are delivered throughout Canada and abroad and are subject to governing rules at a variety of levels, often dependent on location or the nature of the activity. DND, CAF, and CFMWS have a comprehensive suite of policies, directives, standards, and guidelines that drive program development and delivery. In addition to the internal policy framework, activities may be subject to industry standards and provincial or federal regulations. For example, activities taking place in an aquatics facility, such as recreational or competitive swimming or swimming instruction, would be required to adhere to pool safety regulations and ensure that lifeguards, instructors, and officials are appropriately certified. Risk management has generally been well incorporated into the planning and execution of community recreation. Activities that are conducted within an authorized recreation program are insured through the Consolidated Insurance Program, which is managed centrally through CFMWS. In an effort to reduce risk, and subsequently reduce insurance premiums, waivers and specific policies for high-risk activities have been incorporated into program administration. As programs evolve over time, so too should risk assessments and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that policies and practices keep pace with reality.

Observed Strengths

  • Qualifications and certifications for aquatics personnel are tracked
  • Adoption of HIGH FIVE quality standard
  • Club leaders implement industry best practices

After reviewing governing documents and conducting site visits, the audit team can provide reasonable assurance that CFMWS usually collaborates with appropriate stakeholders in the development and implementation of recreation policies, guidelines, and directives. However, the audit team identified areas for improvement relating to policies and processes for certain activities, which are outlined in the following sub-sections. Within a system that relies on a decentralized governance framework, national policies and consistent practices are often needed.

Pool Closures. Standards and processes relating to mandatory swimming pool closures and wait times prior to reopening after a fouling were inconsistent, and in some cases, excessive (i.e., closures ranged from hours to several days). If a pool is closed for longer than necessary, there could be interruptions to pool use for military operations and recreation programming. CFMWS aquatics personnel work collaboratively with local preventative medicine and base construction and engineering officers to ensure sanitary control of indoor and outdoor pools and swimming areas. The audit team consulted with responsible aquatics stakeholders at bases and wings, as well as the preventative medicine policy subject matter expert within Canadian Forces Health Services. It was established that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is viewed as the industry expert on this subject and, while departmental policies are largely based on its standards, bases and wings typically defer to provincial legislation, regulations, and standards for guidance. Responsible stakeholders at bases and wings advised that CAF pools were applying stricter fouling processes than other facilities in the surrounding communities, which negatively affects operations.

Rock Climbing Policy. Rock climbing is part of the recreation program at eight CAF locations. There is currently no national policy or guidance with respect to rock climbing, whether operated as a recreation club or activity. As a result, individual clubs and PSP entities have developed site-specific standard operating procedures, with no national oversight. There are no requirements, from a national policy perspective, for instructor certification or route settings, resulting in potential physical risks to participants. Additionally, no organizational standards have been set for the types of equipment that may be used or the corresponding life cycling of equipment to maintain safety. In the absence of a national policy, stakeholders at bases have collaborated with each other and with industry bodies to incorporate certifications and standards into their practices. While the climbing industry does not have a Canada-specific set of standards, there are American standards that have been established as the best practice upon which to model a framework.

Management could improve internal processes by collaborating with relevant internal and external stakeholders to develop national policies for higher-risk activities. The establishment of cross-functional working groups or committees for ongoing and periodic policy review would assist in ensuring consistent and complete policy coverage for recreation activities.

ADM(RS) Recommendations

  1. Liaise with preventative medicine policy authorities at Canadian Forces Health Services and all aquatics supervisors to establish consistent pool closure and reopening standards related to fouling that meet the necessary health and safety requirements, yet have the least impact on operations.

OPI: DGMWS

  1. Develop a policy specific to climbing activities for incorporation into the PSP Policy Manual that is consistent with sections devoted to other high-risk activities.

OPI: DGMWS

Policy Collaboration

The Defence organization may not be sufficiently assessing and leveraging municipal and other external capacities to support its programming requirements.

Through the PSP, the CAF has met its good employer obligations by providing active and comprehensive recreation programming to members of the CAF and their families. Assessments are conducted on a periodic basis to identify and adjust offerings that meet the evolving demographics and interests of the military community. Similar to community recreation programs of many Canadian municipalities, the PSP is often asked to “do more with less” in order to meet its objectives. As the infrastructure at bases and wings ages and deteriorates, maintenance and repair costs increase. In recent years, the government has implemented measures through the Deficit Reduction Action Plan and continues to operate within fiscal constraints. For their part, base and wing commanders have been challenged to prioritize their infrastructure requirements and identify opportunities for more efficient and effective methods of program and service delivery.

The PSP was established through an alternative service delivery framework, allowing the CAF to provide identified programs and services through a separate employer organization. This structure has enabled community recreation to be delivered in an agile and flexible yet controlled manner with a combination of public and non-public funding and support. Over the last several decades, communities that surround bases and wings have grown, and some programs and services, which were otherwise not available to CAF members and their families, may now be found in surrounding and nearby towns and cities. Another trend that has occurred over the last several decades is a shift whereby a significant number of military families, who once lived in residential housing quarters on a base or wing, now purchase or rent homes in the neighbouring communities and are more integrated into the surrounding social systems. While this shift has occurred, it is widely recognized and accepted that a need remains to accommodate the unique needs of military members and their families that are attributable to their service, deployments, relocations, and internal community building that is vital to maintaining strong family well-being.

As nearby communities have grown, there is now a need to explore the most efficient and effective means to deliver recreational programs and services to members of the CAF and their families. While many surrounding communities still do not have the available infrastructure and facilities of their own to assume responsibility for program delivery, the audit team observed bases and wings with large programs that duplicate services already available nearby and serving a significant number of external civilian stakeholders rather than just the CAF community for which they were initially created. This was particularly evident with minor sports and instructional or competitive activities and clubs. The audit team acknowledges that a requirement remains, in many cases, to continue delivering programs and services where the needs cannot be met through available community resources. However, the increasing population base of surrounding areas should be able to support the establishment of municipal or third-party facilities to assume or share responsibility with the CAF for recreational program delivery. The Defence organization may not be sufficiently assessing and leveraging municipal and other external capacities to support its programming requirements.

To support a review and adjustment of program delivery methods, there are a number of options already in place that management and base and wing commanders have utilized and should be encouraged to exploit. Through the Canadian Forces Appreciation Program, the CFMWS has developed extensive relationships with community businesses and facilities that provide access to products, programs, and services for the Defence community at favourable rates. This program could be expanded and enhanced to provide additional or alternative recreational opportunities for base and wing commanders to leverage in their surrounding communities. Additionally, in its 2014/15 Functional Planning Guidance, Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) has directed custodians of real property to rationalize their portfolio and develop plans to reduce their infrastructure footprint. With this direction to review and prioritize infrastructure requirements, DND has developed a Capital Assistance Program, which is a central transfer payment program that may be accessed to make contributions to eligible recipients for assistance in the construction or upgrading of municipal-type works and public facilities that support a Defence requirement but are deemed to be outside of the DND’s core mandate. This may be a viable consideration for recreational facilities such as arenas, pools, or gymnasiums in instances where significant maintenance or improvement costs are expected in the near future or where municipalities are willing and able to participate in, and assume, a transfer or sharing of responsibility.

ADM(RS) Recommendation

  1. With coordination and support from CFMWS, the Environmental Chiefs of Staff, through base and wing commanders, should improve the effectiveness and efficiency of recreation programming by leveraging internal auxiliary programs and taking measures to share responsibility and network with external stakeholders in the surrounding communities where CAF families are located.

OPI: Chief of the Defence Staff

2.2 Risk Management

Vulnerable Sector Screening

There are systemic gaps relating to screening of individuals having positions of trust or authority over vulnerable persons within the Defence organization.

For potential candidates in employment and volunteer roles dealing with vulnerable persons, it is important to recognize that police reference checks and vulnerable sector screening are now the norm for many organizations. The vulnerable sector includes persons who, because of their age, disability, or other circumstances, whether permanent or temporary, are in a position of dependence on others and are at a greater risk than the general public of being harmed by a person in a position of trust or authority over them. Examples of vulnerable persons include children, youth, elderly, those who are infirm or sick, or those with mental illness. The Defence organization has a duty of care for thousands of vulnerable people through recreation and other facets of the organization, such as hospitals and Joint Personnel Support Units. As the PSP delivers recreation programming and activities geared towards children, youth, and other vulnerable persons, the importance placed on appropriate and thorough screening of adults who are working with them cannot be overstated. Programming areas where this is particularly relevant include recreational sports, aquatics facilities, and day camps for children and youth. Canadian youth organizations have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to put in place a process to prevent wrongdoing or abuse of youth entrusted to their care, as does the Defence organization.

Vulnerable sector screening processes were observed to be weak or missing at all bases and wings visited. In the context of recreation, those who ought to be subject to screening could include personnel (Staff of the Non-Public Funds, DND and CAF), contractors, and volunteers as recreation clubs and activities utilize various combinations of these individuals. National and provincial sports organizations frequently require that officials licensed or certified by them undergo vulnerable sector screening. The Defence organization, on the other hand, did not have processes in place to ensure this screening was completed. For example, as part of its recreation program, a base may have minor soccer teams for the children of military members and others within the community. Coaches and other officials would be engaged largely through a contractor or volunteer capacity and, although these individuals may be subject to the screening policies of the Canadian Soccer Association, the Defence organization is not relieved of its duty to have a rigorous screening process in place.

Governance and oversight of the screening process have been identified as the predominate areas requiring improvement. Recognizing that recreation clubs are self-governing groups within the recreation program, and many stakeholders are not employees of the Defence organization, the need for centralized coordination and oversight is apparent. During the conduct phase of this audit, stakeholders asserted that vulnerable sector screening was already being conducted by other responsible parties within the organization, or that vulnerable sector checks were included in the reliability and security clearance screening that personnel are subject to at the time of hiring and periodically throughout their career. The audit team consulted with CFMWS and DND Personnel Security management, who verified that existing employment security screening does not include vulnerable sector checks. Further discussions with senior leadership confirmed that similar screening gaps to those in the recreation program were present within other CAF and DND organizations.

When establishing benchmarks for this audit, the Adult Screening Policy of the Canadian Cadet Organization was identified as a strong best practice. This policy contains a clear accountability framework with well-defined roles and responsibilities, as well as a tolerance guideline and processes for management to follow in situations where a police record is found on an individual being screened to work with the vulnerable sector. CFMWS acknowledged the requirement to establish vulnerable sector screening processes and has issued a policy document that is currently being implemented. This policy is independent of any other DND policies relating to the same subject, and it may not adequately mitigate the risk of gaps and redundancies between other guiding documents and processes.

Given the importance and time sensitivity of this issue, the matter was brought to the attention of senior leadership during the conduct phase of the audit. The recommendations presented in this report serve to reinforce the ongoing actions required to mitigate risks across the Defence organization.

ADM(RS) Recommendation

  1. Develop a policy and issue direction for vulnerable sector screening that includes the following:
  • identification of roles and responsibilities (organizational authority and accountability);
  • establishment of screening tolerance guidelines for consistent use throughout the Defence organization;
  • ensuring that recourse mechanisms and protocols are established to address notification of a police record involving personnel (Staff of the Non-Public Funds, DND, CAF), contractors, and volunteers; and
  • provisions for information management, privacy, and access to information.

OPI: Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

3.0 General Conclusion

Assurance can be provided that governance and oversight mechanisms are in place and are working well in most regards. A number of isolated areas of weakness were identified where management can further strengthen internal controls. A comprehensive suite of policies is in place and adequately govern most recreation activities; however, gaps exist in key areas that place the Defence organization and program participants at risk. Several best practices have been developed by local-level stakeholders, and those activities with inherent physical hazards would benefit from these practices being incorporated as national standards.

There are extensive risk management strategies in place, although some key aspects were overlooked. Vulnerable sector screening of personnel, volunteers, and contractors requires improvements. Senior leadership can achieve these improvements and thus reduce the inherent risks by establishing a Defence-wide policy and implementing consistent processes.

CFMWS delivers a thriving recreation program for the CAF that successfully meets the needs of the military community. As surrounding communities grow, there is a need to explore the most efficient and effective means to deliver recreational programs and services to CAF members and their families.

Annex A—Management Action Plan

ADM(RS) uses recommendation significance criteria as follows:

 

Very High—Controls are not in place. Important issues have been identified and will have a significant negative impact on operations.

High—Controls are inadequate. Important issues are identified that could negatively impact the achievement of program/operational objectives.

Moderate—Controls are in place but are not being sufficiently complied with. Issues are identified that could negatively impact the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

Low—Controls are in place but the level of compliance varies.

Very Low—Controls are in place with no level of variance.

Governance and Oversight

ADM(RS) Recommendation (Moderate)

  1. Provide direction and implement oversight processes to ensure regular and ongoing inspection of all recreation facilities (planned and unannounced).

Management Action

Agreed.

A review and revision of the PSP Policy Manual Chapter 6-1 – Recreation and Chapter 6-2 – Recreation Clubs will include the following:

The Manager Community Recreation, or a designate, will conduct one annual review of each recreational club to assess and monitor activity. Adherence to recreational club policies, effectiveness of facility use, participation level, and the nature of group activities will comprise a significant part of this review. Recreational clubs that do not meet established criteria or have an unsatisfactory review may have their current sanctioning suspended. In extreme cases, where the safety of participants is in question, the Manager Community Recreation may immediately cease the club activity.

In addition to the annual review, community recreation staff will monitor club inspections such as environment, fire, engineering, and preventative medicine.

CFMWS/PSP has developed a new training course for Non-Public Fund staff at the coordinator level. The course provides PSP coordinators with operational, resource, personnel, and financial management training specific to that job level. It includes extensive training in risk management. It is the goal of national recreation services to leverage this course content and make it available to recreation leaders and volunteers.

PSP currently uses HIGH FIVE as a risk management framework for activities. During fiscal year 2015/16, PSP will conduct a review of these policies through a QUEST 1 assessment.

OPI: DGMWS

Target Date: October 2015

ADM(RS) Recommendation (Moderate)

  1. Incorporate risk-reducing best practices as national standards in the PSP Policy Manual to ensure consistent implementation.

Management Action

Agreed.

Recreation staff will conduct spot checks and surprise inspections on occasion to ensure compliance with policy and checklists.

A policy on rock climbing is currently being developed and will be included in the PSP Policy Manual.

CFMWS has provided a comprehensive Garage/Shop Safety Checklist (best practice) to bases and wings in October 2014. CFMWS will review this checklist and will provide bases and wings a national resource on the use of wood hobby and auto hobby

CFMWS/PSP has developed and provided a directive on the use of the Waiver of Assumption of Risks and Indemnification Agreement. All participants to NPP high-risk recreation activities must sign a Waiver of Assumption of Risks and Indemnification Agreement prior to participating.

OPI: DGMWS

Target Date: October 2015

Policy Collaboration

ADM(RS) Recommendation (Moderate)

  1. Liaise with preventative medicine policy authorities at Canadian Forces Health Services and all aquatics supervisors to establish consistent pool closure and reopening standards related to fouling that meet the necessary health and safety requirements, yet have the least impact on operations.

Management Action

Agreed.

CFMWS has already engaged with Canadian Forces Health Services to establish national pool closures and reopening standards related to fouling that meet health and safety requirements with possibly less impact on CAF indoor and outdoor pools.

OPI: DGMWS

Target Date: Completed

ADM(RS) Recommendation (Moderate)

  1. Develop a policy specific to climbing activities for incorporation into the PSP Policy Manual that is consistent with sections devoted to other high-risk activities.

Management Action

Agreed.

CFMWS is currently developing national standards for rock climbing walls when used for recreational purposes. When this directive is complete (release scheduled for September 2015), additional directives will be created for other high-risk activities.

OPI: DGMWS

Target Date: October 2015

Governance Structure of Recreation Program Delivery

ADM(RS) Recommendation (High)

  1. With coordination and support from CFMWS, the Environmental Chiefs of Staff, through base and wing commanders, should improve the effectiveness and efficiency of recreation programming by leveraging internal auxiliary programs and taking measures to share responsibility and network with external stakeholders in the surrounding communities where CAF families are located.

Management Action

Agreed.

CFMWS, on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff, will be the lead organization to identify and remove duplication of services when appropriate. CFMWS shall coordinate between stakeholders and the surrounding CAF communities to maximize the delivery of recreation programs.

OPI: Chief of the Defence Staff

Target Date: Completed

Risk Management—Vulnerable Sector Screening

ADM(RS) Recommendation (Very High)

  1. Develop a policy and issue direction for vulnerable sector screening that includes the following:
  • identification of roles and responsibilities (organizational authority and accountability);
  • establishment of screening tolerance guidelines for consistent use throughout the Defence organization;
  • ensuring that recourse mechanisms and protocol are established to address notification of a police record involving personnel (Staff of the Non-Public Funds, DND, CAF), contractors, and volunteers; and
  • provisions for information management, privacy, and access to information.

Management Action

Agreed.

Included in Chapter 4 of the National Defence Security Orders and Directives is direction on the screening of members of the vulnerable sector, including but not limited to Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service and medical staff. Detailed guidelines will be issued in the form of Director General Defence Security/Director Personnel Security and Identity Management Security Bulletins by December 2015. These instructions will be written in conjunction with Cadet Administrative and Training Orders 23-04 – Adult Screening Policy, which will be revised to align with the National Defence Security Orders and Directives.

OPI: Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

Target Date: December 2015

Annex B—Audit Criteria

Objective

  1. The objective of this audit was to provide assurance to the Chief of the Defence Staff on the robustness of the frameworks, oversight mechanisms, and risk management strategies and practices utilized by management to ensure that the CFMWS recreation program is following internal and external policies, directives, and standards.

Criteria

  • Appropriate and comprehensive policies are in place to support the governance framework.
  • DGMWS has effective management oversight and has established an appropriate risk management strategy.

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Footnote 1 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Memorandum TB 689194: Guiding principles for the provision of services and recreational facilities at Canadian Forces establishments and the provision of support to the Canadian Forces Exchange System and associated Non-Public Property organizations.

Footnote 2 Defined as persons who, because of their age, disability, or other circumstances, whether permanent or temporary, are in a position of dependence on others and are at a greater risk than the general public of being harmed by a person in a position of trust or authority over them.

Footnote 3 2013-2014 Non-Public Property Annual Report.

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