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Pandemic Program & Activity Modifications — STAGE 4

“How to safely run a Scouts Canada Activity during COVID-19"


During a declared pandemic, Scouts Canada must maintain a position of safety leadership and social responsibility. In alignment with our Safety First Policy, Scouts Canada’s priority will be ensuring that activities are modified to ensure the safety of our members and to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

A Pandemic Operational Plan is required by most provinces at times of declared pandemics. These Pandemic Program & Activity Modifications Standards and the associated supporting documents are designed to meet the expected needs of most provinces.

Our Standards

  1. These Standards apply to all departments, functions, Councils, Groups, Sections, staff, volunteers and those acting in support of Scouts Canada activities during a local, national or international pandemic.
    1. The National Key 3 will determine the scope and duration of activation of these standards.
    2. Notice of implementation and effective date of these standards shall be given by the CEO of Scouts Canada or a person designated by them to provide notice.
    3. Incremental or greater requirements specified by Federal, Provincial and/or Municipal health and safety restrictions supersede those outlined in these standards.
  2. The objective is to ensure that appropriate program modifications are both communicated and implemented to reduce the risk of disease transmission among Scouting youth, Scouters, parents and others planning or attending Scouts Canada activities. Activities cannot violate a public health order.
  3. All Scouting in-person activities must ensure program and plans are modified to reduce the spread of illness.
    1. For the purposes of these standards, an ‘activity’ is any action or meeting involving those registered as members, or those eligible for membership in, Scouts Canada indulging in any gathering for the purposes of Scouting within or outside of Canada.
    2. These include, but are not limited to, all Section, Group, functional and other meetings of any kind operating as Scouts Canada. This would include all Section programming, Council meetings, training sessions, events, day camps, overnight camps, and planning sessions for the purposes of Scouting.
  4. Each Council and/or Group are responsible for ensuring, as much as practical and reasonable, that they are in compliance with Scouts Canada, Federal, Provincial and Municipal Government health and safety restrictions.
  5. The two-scouter rule must always be in effect and maintained.
  6. Scouter to Youth ratio must be maintained at all times when conducting in-person Scouting Activities.
  7. For ALL in-person activities the following requirements are to be adhered to:
    1. Physical Distancing
      1. All Scouting in-person activities will be limited to the gathering restrictions specified by the municipality or province that the activity/ gathering is taking place within, whichever is fewer. Indoor activities are permitted in addition to the preferred outdoor activities.
      2. All Scouting in-person activities to be split into smaller teams (patrols) of 8 or fewer youth per patrol.
        • A “patrol” is a general Scouting term for a small team, typically 6 to 8 youth that embodies the Scout Method— Patrol System. Specifically, this refers to Lodges (Colony: Beavers), Lairs (Pack: Cubs), Patrols Troop: Scouts) and Expedition Teams (Company: Venturers).
      3. All meetings and activities need to allow all participants to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (2m) or as required by the Local, Municipal or Provincial requirements (whichever is greater).
        • Patrols must remain separate and must maintain physical distancing from another patrol for the duration of the activity (minimum 2m).
      4. When conducting outdoor activities youth members within their patrol should be encouraged to practice physical distancing and minimise physical contact.
        • Patrols must remain separate and must maintain physical distancing from another patrol for the duration of the activity (minimum 2m).
        • Where practical, meeting and activities should still be modified to maintain a physical distance of at least one meter (1m) from participants within patrols.
      5. Adults, and Scouters, working with an assigned patrol must maintain physical distancing of 2m.
      6. The use of masks are recommended for Scouting activities and meetings conducted indoors, unless prescribed by a Provincial or Municipal Health guidelines, at which point it will then be considered mandatory.
      7. Avoid large gatherings, like traditional opening ceremonies, large campfires and instead modify to patrol-based activities.
      8. Drop-off and pick-up procedures must be modified to ensure compliance with these standards.
    2. Vulnerable Populations
      1. Adults and Scouters should be aware of their provincial health guidance for ‘Vulnerable Persons” or “At-Risk” persons and take additional risk controls that they determine appropriate, e.g. maintaining physical distance, wearing PPE, reducing potential exposure time. Vulnerable adults must discuss with the Scouter-in-Charge to ensure appropriate risk management controls are acceptable.
      2. Youth with underlying conditions, medical and/or behavioural complexities may attend Scouting activities, however, it is important for parents/guardians to work with their child’s health-care providers so that an informed decision can be made. Parents must inform the Scouter-in-Charge in advance to ensure appropriate risk management controls are considered.
        • Where there is a vulnerable person in their household, the member must consider carefully if they should attend.
    3. Cleaning & Hygiene
      1. The Scouter-in-Charge will ensure that appropriate levels of hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, where realistically possible, are planned and executed.
        • Surfaces on playgrounds need routine cleaning with soap and water, including high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal.
        • Cleaning of wooden surfaces is not recommended by government authorities.
      2. Handwashing stations and/or Alcohol Based Hand Rub with a minimum 60% alcohol concentration must be made available.
        • Soap and water are preferred as it is the most effective method and least likely to cause harm if accidentally ingested.
      3. Use of shared objects (e.g. gym or sports equipment, art supplies, games) is permitted within a patrol but the objects should be cleaned between each use.
    4. Screening
      1. The Scouter-in-Charge must ensure that all Scouters, parents, youth and others attending the activity are reasonably informed of the requirements and associated risks of participation.
      2. All participants must be provided a self-assessment screening checklist to perform screening of their children or themselves before arriving at the planned Scouting activity.
        • It is understood that some allergies or pre-existing conditions may express similar symptoms to COVID-19. If in doubt consult a medical professional.
      3. Scouters, parents or guardians and youth must not attend the programs or other Scouting activities if they are sick (any illness – not just limited to COVID).
        • Where there is another sick person in their household, the member should consider carefully if they should attend.
      4. All persons ordered, and family members (or social bubble) of persons ordered, to quarantine or self-isolate under a Public Health order of a Municipality, Province or an order made under the Federal Quarantine Act are prohibited from in-person Scouting activities.
      5. If a person develops symptoms while participating in a Scouting activity the Scouter-in-Charge must follow the Supporting a Symptomatic Person Guideline and must complete and submit an Incident Report Form to Safe Scouting following the Incident Management Procedure.
        • Youth who develop symptoms while at a Scouting activity may be asked to wear a mask and isolate in a separate area until a parent arrives for pickup. The youth must be kept at least 2 metres away from all other individuals.
      6. For the purposes of contact tracing, attendance and screening results must be recorded for everyone attending the activity including Scouters, youth, parents and anyone else on the activity site. Records must be maintained for a minimum of 6 weeks following each activity to facilitate contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.
    5. Personal Protective Equipment
      1. The use of masks are recommended for Scouting activities and meetings conducted indoors, unless prescribed by a Provincial or Municipal Health guidelines, at which point it will then be considered mandatory.
      2. When conducting outdoor activities, unless prescribed by local regulations, personal protective equipment, such as masks are not mandatory, beyond those used by persons as part of regular precautions for the hazards normally encountered in their regular course of work (e.g. cleaning and handling chemicals).
      3. The Group Commissioner, in conjunction with the Scouter-in-Charge, may additionally require the mandatory use of masks for a planned activity. This needs to be communicated to all participants in advance.
    6. Emergency Response & Risk Management
      1. An updated hazard identification and risk assessment is conducted for the activity location and planned activity.
      2. Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is updated to reflect pandemic requirements and local conditions.
      3. Modified Adventure Application Form (MAAF) is updated for the site to be visited, expected weather conditions, location and municipal requirements.
    7. Food Provisions
      1. Food provision within patrols is permitted.
      2. No self-serve buffet-style meals.
      3. Food and/or drink sharing is prohibited.
      4. Clean and disinfect eating and cooking equipment after use.
    8. Overnight Camping
      1. Colony, Pack, Troop, Company and Crew overnight camping is allowed if permitted by relevant local, municipal and provincial regulations. The Scouter-in-Charge must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Group Commissioner that all the requirements of this Pandemic Program & Activity Modifications Standard have been met and can be maintained throughout the proposed adventure including under an emergency response scenario.
        • Camping in tents or shelters is preferred.
        • Sleeping in hard-sided tents, Adirondack shelters, individual huts or other camp buildings is permitted in patrols of up to 8 youth only.
        • Large buildings, halls or other facilities cannot be used for overnight accommodation.
        • Adults (including parents) are required to sleep in separate accommodation away from the youth.
        • Sharing of tents is permitted within patrols, providing patrols maintain separation (minimum of 2m) from other patrols for the duration of the activity.
        • If patrol separation cannot be guaranteed, all camping, or overnight accommodation, to be conducted individually in tents or appropriate camping shelters.
      2. Given the inherent nature of higher risk with younger youth, overnight camping for Colony (Beaver Scouts) and Pack (Cub Scouts) should be considered only after rigorous review of the risk controls commensurate with the planned activity. Daytime activities are recommended for both Colonies and Packs for the duration of the declared pandemic.
    9. Approvals
      1. The Scouter-in-Charge must complete a Modified Adventure Application Form (“MAAF”) for all outdoor activities or those activities away from the usual meeting place. This includes Category 1 outdoor activities.
      2. The Group Commissioner may approve one application form for multiple activities in the same location, including multiple days, if they are satisfied that the risk conditions and risk controls are not materially different from the initial discussions, verification and approval.

Review and Improve Cycle

  • These standards shall be reviewed when a potential local, national or international pandemic is suspected.
  • Subsequent reviews shall be completed every three years, or more frequently as required by regulatory changes, BP&P or identified deficiencies.

Related Policies & Standards



Approved Date 

May 2021

Effective Date 

May 2021


V2 (May 2021): Mass gathering restrictions defined in Pandemic Stage 4 Standard have been updated to reflect Provincial Guidance. The use of masks was also updated. 

Uncontrolled When Printed: When printed, document cannot be guaranteed to have the current information and should be used with caution. This document is marked “uncontrolled” and the user is responsible for determining if the current version is active. To find the most updated version, please refer to Scouts Canada BP&P on