Health and Safety

We have listed specific information about key areas of health and safety we feel students, teachers, parents and guardians should consider prior to the start of any ALIVE program. For more information about our comprehensive approach to Risk Management follow the link below or contact us to speak with one of our Directors. 


At ALIVE Outdoors we take great pride in knowing that our years of experience and industry-leading risk management practices are one of the reasons schools and clients around the world continue to build upon our programs and explore new program offerings with us each year. Our approach and expertise in managing risk has evolved since our first programs over 24 years ago. We now have a dedicated team of risk consultants working with schools, school boards, government agencies, and private businesses to provide a range of Enterprise Risk Management services across many industry sectors. We are fortunate to be in a position to leverage the risk management skills and knowledge gained through our consulting work back into our own programs where we believe we can offer an unmatched risk management environment for your students and staff.


In addition to our Risk Management planning and Health and Safety documentation, the ALIVE Outdoors Program Guide has been created to complement and further highlight our educational philosophy, risk mitigation practices, and the desired learning outcomes of our programs. We invite you to explore our Program Guide to take a visual tour of our program environment, including photos of our program elements, learning outcomes, and key risk management practices for each program area.

The Program Guide is intended to give parents, students, participants and administrators a clearer understanding of our programs, visually communicating the programming that participants engage in, and identifies some of the potential risks and what we do to mitigate them. We strongly believe that informing those parties involved with the ALIVE community helps everyone make better-informed decisions about participation and be better prepared to participate in an ALIVE experience.


Over the last several years we have collectively been confronted by the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation has challenged each of us in our daily lives and the lives of many in the global community. At ALIVE we have monitored the situation closely and have followed all available advice from Public Health Officials in Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the CDC, and the World Health Organization.

Each school has made their own decision about how they wish to proceed with in-person programming.  Everyone’s collective health remains at the forefront of decision making. Thank you for doing your part in helping to support proactive thinking and decision making regarding the health and safety of yourself and others.  

We are working collaboratively with each school to help create and facilitate programs that aim to help students foster positive relationships, enhance communities, and build resilience and empathy in youth together with our partner sites and given the current recommended practices.

As always, if you would like to speak with us directly please do not hesitate to contact us.



Allergies and Medications 

All our facilities are Nut-Aware and we work diligently to reduce the potential exposure that students have to common allergens (such as nuts). Knowing about allergies and medications as far in advance as possible allows us to help accommodate and reduce potential exposure. Specifically stating allergies and medications on the medical form and following up with the ALIVE office, if necessary, are important steps to staying healthy at camp. Instructors are trained in first aid which includes detecting the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. They are competent in the use of Epi-pens and are aware of students with documented allergies and medical conditions while on program. Students with documented anaphylaxis or asthma must carry their Epi-Pen and/ or asthmatic inhaler (puffer) at all times. 

Food, Dietary Restrictions and Allergies

Meal times at camp are memorable for many reasons. Gathering in community to share exciting moments from the day’s activities over healthy and varied meal options are essential to an ALIVE residential program experience. ALIVE maintains strong relationships with the cooks and kitchen staff at our partner sites to actively encourage that they meet the dietary requirements of our students through comprehensive menu planning and food preparation. All our programs are structured around shared breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snack. Menus are planned so that fresh fruits, vegetables and varied nutritional options are available. We believe in eating good food and sharing that value with all our students. Parents of students with severe allergies should contact the ALIVE office to be connected with the host site’s Head of Food Services to discuss individual dietary requirements for their child’s specific program. 


Bed Bugs are a rising problem in the developed world. It is a common belief that bed bugs are found where people sleep; however, to date bed bugs have a much broader social impact. The source of bed bugs is unknown due to the multitude of places in which they can exist. For example: shops, hotels, hospitals, movie theatres and public transit systems such as planes and trains. Needless to say, you no longer need to sleep in an infested bed to experience the nuisance bed bugs can cause. Unfortunately, camps and outdoor centers are not immune to this problem.

At ALIVE Outdoors we care deeply about the quality of our programs. With this in mind, we are providing you with this information to educate you – not alarm you. Your student can pick-up bed bugs anywhere, at school, on the bus, in a cabin, etc. 

To best protect your family upon your child’s return, we recommend following these precautionary steps:
  1. We have placed two large garbage bags on the packing list with the intention of having all clothes and bedding come home to you in sealed garbage bags inside your child’s duffel bag. Upon your child’s arrival home, take these bags directly to your washing machine. If you do not plan to do laundry right away please keep the bags sealed.
  2. Wash clothes and bedding in the hottest water possible. After the wash is complete, transfer the laundry immediately into the dryer for at least 30 minutes. Ensure your dryer is set on high heat.
  3. In the case of delicate items that cannot be laundered, it is recommended that you place the items loosely in a tightly sealed bag. The bag should then be placed into the freezer for a minimum of 24 hours.
  4. As bed bugs can also travel with your luggage, place your luggage in a black trash bag and leave it tied tightly for 4 days. If possible, place bagged luggage in the sun. Steam cleaning your luggage will also be sufficient. Remember to follow this precautionary step with your child’s toiletry bags as well.

This link to the Health Canada Website offers valuable information regarding bed bugs.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

In recent years there has been increasing media attention in regards to Lyme disease-bearing ticks moving into Canada from Southern climates.  Currently, there are some areas in Southern Ontario that now have established populations of a species called the Blacklegged Tick. A link to the Public Health of Ontario map showing these areas can be found below.  While many species of ticks are native to Ontario this particular species is the only one to date that has been shown to carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

To date, some of the areas in which we facilitate outdoor programming are now considered areas where Black-legged Ticks and/or the Lyme Disease causing bacteria can be found.  For areas where ticks have been found, we work with students and teachers to encourage tick checks, wear long pants and socks when in wooded areas and provide general tick awareness. 

For more information regarding Ticks and Lyme Disease in Ontario please visit the Government of Ontario information page.

Follow this link for the map showing estimated risk areas for Lyme Bearing Ticks 

Our Director of Operations and Risk Management (Dr. Howard) was Interviewed by Interpretation Canada Regarding Ticks and Risk Communication


Students and teachers spend significant time outdoors during their ALIVE Outdoors experience. We strongly recommend that every individual is prepared to be outdoors by following the packing list for their program. Specifically, students and faculty are required to have waterproof sunblock rated to at least SPF 30, a hat with brim, and a long sleeved shirt. In addition, we ask that you help us by sharing the importance of applying and reapplying sunblock throughout the day with your son or daughter. 

Recommended Sun Protection for All ALIVE Programs


Some ALIVE programs allow students to participate in water-based activities and supervised swimming. If your student’s program has water activities you will have been informed in our letter to parents. Our water supervision policies vary depending on the type of activity and the type of location. As an example, below is a summary of our swimming policies for multi-day canoe trips. We work diligently to use the most current best practices, qualifications, and research to inform our swimming supervision and water-based risk management.

Swimming Policies for Multi-Day Canoe Trips

  1. On all ALIVE Outdoors canoe trips, there will be at least one instructor who holds a current Water Rescue Certification and is responsible as the swimming guard. Applicable Water Rescue Certifications include: NLS, and SRT/WRT. These Third-Party Certifications are Provincially and Nationally recognized, each assesses an instructor’s ability to swim, perform a rescue, and deal with people in distress in and around the water. For all swimming, the swim guard will be present and must be actively supervising the swimming activities.
  2. ALIVE Outdoors requests schools take the responsibility for administering swim tests to all students participating in canoe trips. If the school chooses not to administer a swim test, ALIVE Outdoors will refer to swimming ability information obtained from each student’s parents (moving forward an additional swimming ability form will be sent with our paperwork).
  3. Students who successfully complete a school administered swim test, at minimum have proven that they can swim 100m and tread water while maintaining a calm and stable floating body position. All students, faculty and instructors are required to wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and closed-toed shoes while swimming, canoeing or for any activity in the water.
  4. Swim guards are responsible to designate and communicate the boundaries of the swim area prior to students entering the water.
  5. While guarding, swim guards are required to wear closed toed shoes and be prepared to enter the water (i.e., wearing appropriate clothing, having a PFD available, and whistle). One actively supervising and qualified swim guard is required for every five swimmers in the water. When more than five students are swimming, swim guards must be located at different vantage points to oversee the swim area. A maximum of 10 students are allowed to be in the water swimming at any one time. In addition, every canoe trip has at least one instructor who holds a Wilderness First Responder certification (72 – 80 hour first aid course specific to the wilderness context).
  6. Diving or cliff-jumping, and swimming in the dark is strictly prohibited.
  7. No swimming will occur in moving water. (This excludes trips with whitewater specific programming, and qualified whitewater instructors).
  8. Swim guards must adhere to the ALIVE Canoe Trip Policies.