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Higher Risk Situations

Some situations require extra care by volunteers and organizations.

Caring for Children

When caring for children there is not just a duty to act with reasonable care. Volunteers and organizations looking after children have a duty to take the care that a careful parent would take in that situation.

There is a duty to supervise children and take special care around risky situations including when children are playing in water or using things like paints that could be toxic if swallowed. On the organization’s part this means making sure an adequate number of volunteers are present to supervise the activity taking place.

Volunteers caring for children also have a duty to continue to care for them until they are safely in the care of another person. This may mean that a volunteer needs to stay past the time they were supposed to be looking after the children for.

Volunteers can only use the minimum amount of force required to protect the child’s safety. Force should only be used as a last resort and can never be used as punishment.

Giving Advice

Volunteers who are in the ‘business’ of giving advice must be careful not to give incorrect or misleading information. A volunteer is considered to be in the business of giving advice if that is their primary role in the organization. For example, if they are advocates for people dealing with certain processes or they help people complete things like income tax forms.

If someone takes advice from a volunteer who claims to be skilled or appears to be skilled at giving that advice and they are harmed because they relied on that advice they could sue for negligence.

Outdoor & Adventure Activities

Many outdoor activities can be risky especially things like rafting or snowboarding. Volunteers or organizations that coordinate higher risk activities have a higher level of responsibility. They must act as a reasonable outdoors person would in similar circumstances. This may require special training for volunteers or the recruiting of volunteers with particular skills.

Driving

When volunteers drive people they must ensure that seatbelts and car seats are used as required and that they obey all other rules of the road. They must look out for the safety of passengers as they enter and exit the car. They must make sure that the car has things liking working windshield wipers, mirrors and tires that are in working order. Organizations must make sure volunteers have valid driver’s’ licenses and that vehicles used are properly registered and insured.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.