The safety and well-being of youth members is our shared priority across 4-H in Canada, and it sits at the core of our 4-H Positive Youth Development Formula.
4-H Canada is working in partnership with provincial 4-H organizations to ensure that 4-H has consistent policies and procedures in place across the country to provide successful and safe programs for all youth, to safeguard the trust and loyalty of families, and to ensure leaders have the resources and training to feel supported and prepared.
Youth Safety Policies
The Youth Safety at 4-H in Canada Policy Manual ensures industry standards and best practices are in place across the network of 4-H organizations in Canada. In addition, provincial organizations have detailed procedures that outline how the policies are implemented, with clear steps for staff and leaders.
Key policies include:
- Code of Conduct Policy
- Inclusion Policy
- Screening and Training Policy
- Youth Supervision Policy
- Duty to Report Policy
Our policy manual is available to families, leaders, and staff to ensure everyone has the same understanding of the commitment to youth safety.
Rule of Two
During 4-H meetings, programming, and events the Rule of Two must be followed to ensure there is never a situation where an adult is one-on-one with a youth who is not their child or ward. To learn more about the Rule of Two, watch this explainer video or download the Rule of Two diagram as a PDF.
In-Person Activities During COVID-19
We are continuing to work closely with our provincial 4-H organizations and consulting with public health officials, government partners, and stakeholders to ensure any in-person programming is conducted only where appropriate while adhering to public health guidelines and protecting the safety of everyone involved. Read the latest update on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As provincial governments vary in their respective levels of restrictions, local and provincial in-person 4-H programming may resume and/or be paused under provincial health and safety guidelines. Please reach out to your provincial organization for more information on the status of 4-H programming where you live.
These guidelines outline what are appropriate electronic communications and virtual activities, so that youth, parents, leaders, and staff can engage in a safe, fun, and inclusive environment.
Youth Safety Reporting
4-H considers the safety and well-being of 4-H youth members its top priority. The Youth Safety Reporting System for 4-H in Canada enables leaders, volunteers, and staff to conveniently submit Activity Plan and Incident Report forms directly to their provincial organization. The secure system can be accessed from a computer or mobile device without the need for an account.
Please refer to the reference guides for direction on when to complete an Activity Plan or Incident Report form, and a step-by-step guide to completing the form. Detailed instruction is offered during the Youth Safety training.
Completing the Youth Safety and Child Protection (Commit to Kids) training are requirements of being a 4-H trained leader.
Youth Safety Training
Reach out to your provincial organization to learn more about upcoming in-person and virtual Youth Safety training opportunities. To learn more about training, read the Youth Safety Training Overview.
Child Protection Training
The Commit to Kids online training has been developed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for organizations like 4-H. The training provides up-to-date and relevant best practices to increase the personal safety of children and youth.
The training is free to all 4-H volunteers, leaders, staff, and board members.
Reach out to your provincial organization for direction on how to access the online training.
4-H Canada and provincial 4-H organizations (excluding AJRQ) maintain insurance policies covering the activities of their organizations. The Insurance Overview is intended to be a quick reference guide for 4-H Canada and provincial organization staff and boards, and 4-H leaders and volunteers across Canada, regarding the insurance program.
While the insurance program is one component of risk management, the most effective tool is to have consistent 4-H policies and procedures in place across the country to provide successful and safe programs for all participants and to ensure leaders have the resources and training to feel supported and prepared.
It is an expectation that all 4-H programs and activities abide by:
- all policies in the Youth Safety at 4-H in Canada manual,
- safety checklists specific to the activities involved, and
- all provincial guidelines and procedures.