PSO Risk Management Workshops

Published June 1, 2016

Since 2007 the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to deliver the Risk Management Project, a series of risk assessment workshops for National and Multi-Sport organizations. These two-day workshops have enabled more than forty NSO’s and MSO’s to not only meet their sport support criteria (a corporate risk management plan is required by Sport Canada for base funding), but also to elevate their performance, achieve their objectives, and manage risk more effectively. Now in Phase 9 of implementation, we are working once again with some of the organizations who have done the initial workshop to further enhance, integrate and maintain risk management practices within their corporate culture.   Dina Bell-Laroche speaks further to our Risk Management Project and a trending towards proactive risk management in a recent blog.

In 2014, Rachel Corbett and LeeAnn Cupidio led a Risk Management Pilot Project with five Ontario Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO’s). Each organization took part in a half-day session which provided an opportunity for the participating organizations to dip their toes in the water by conducting a brief risk identification session and learning about the value of a risk management plan. The feedback from pilot participants was that a risk management approach to planning was a definitive value-add, a program enhancer and a safeguard for organizations. However, pilot participants expressed concern about their ability to allocate resources to a two-day workshop. As a result, a template for a PSO Risk Management Workshop was crafted, utilizing the feedback from the Pilot session and by incorporating the standards and core principles from the NSO/MSO Risk Management Project. The end product is a customized workshop that is outlined below.

As LeeAnn noted in our ‘What We’re Watching in 2016’ blog, we support and encourage PSO’s in adopting and embracing risk management principles. The SLSG believes that a risk management plan for PSO’s is a necessity in today’s environment. It helps to eliminate many of the ‘fires’ or obstacles that prevent organizations from achieving their optimal performance and it can shield them against legal claims, brand damage and negative perceptions. An effective plan compliments your existing objectives, protects you from harm and raises your standards as a leader in your sport.

Although it is not a current requirement yet in all provinces, we are witnessing a shift towards risk management planning as an industry standard that is filtering down from the federal to the provincial level. In Ontario, the government has updated its Sport Recognition Policy and proposed mandatory policies that PSO’s must have in order to acquire their base funding. This is highlighted in Steve Indig’s recent Game ON blog. The concept of risk management is embedded throughout the eligibility criteria. Many of the proposed mandatory and recommended policies are bi-products of an effective risk management plan. They are complimented by formal practices, procedures and a culture of risk management that are implemented by organizational leaders. We encourage PSO’s to get ahead of this industry shift and develop their risk management plan.

The Workshop

The PSO Risk Management Workshop, offered by the SLSG, is a one-day facilitated workshop that is aligned with international standards (ISO 31000:2009) and is specifically tailored to sport organizations at the provincial level. The workshop includes the identification of risks that challenge your organization, an analysis and assessment of your core risks, and treatment solutions to mitigate those risks. In addition, the workshop is budget friendly and it will help you establish a viable risk management plan for the future.

The Workshop will provide participants with the following outcomes:

  • Introduce new language and concepts
  • Provide a tool to assist with scanning for risks; rating risks according to probability and consequence; outlining current strategies; and brainstorm possible new solutions
  • Create the initial risk registry
  • Map out a process to determine how to integrate risk management within your organizational culture
  • Gain immediate credibility with provincial funders and insurance underwriters
  • Elevate your standards and raise the bar within your sport: making you an industry leader

In May this year, LeeAnn and Jason Robinson facilitated the first PSO Risk Management Workshop with Golf Ontario. They helped Golf Ontario identify and record close to twenty critical risks, closely aligned with its new Strategic Plan, as well as lead workshop participants through several risk assessment and treatment phases. "LeeAnn, Jason and the entire Sport Law and Strategy Group did an outstanding job facilitating our risk management workshop,” said Mike Kelly, Executive Director of Golf Ontario. “With a new and ambitious strategic plan, the session proved incredibly valuable to staff and board, ultimately positioning Golf Ontario to navigate our new direction successfully."

To schedule or learn more about the PSO Risk Management Workshop, please feel free to contact Jason Robinson at

Here’s what some of our other clients have to say about the impact of the workshop:

Participating in the Risk Management Workshop brought a new perspective to the importance of risk management within our organization.  Our Board and staff have now embedded risk management into our governance and annual planning."     Myles Spencer - Rugby Canada

 “RCA Board and Staff Members participated in a Risk Management Workshop with leaders from the Sport Law and Strategy Group.  It was a great, practical session that drilled down onto those key risk factors that needed attention both in the short and long term.  A day well spent and a strategy that is now reviewed by the Board on a regular basis.  Highly recommended to other sport organizations!”     Donna Atkinson – Rowing Canada Aviron

 “Engaging the Sport Law & Strategy Group was the best decision we could have made. The expertise and guidance provided by the team from SLSG resulted in a priority-based strategy that will enable the CWSA to minimize our risk and maximize our success.”     Catherine Cadieux – Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association




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