Group leader responsibilities

  • Do not leave food, garbage, cooler, stove and other bear attractants out of sight.

  • Store all food, garbage, stove, toothpaste and other bear attractants in the bear proof lockers overnight.

  • Attend fire at all times or extinguish it.

  • Ensure that all camp rules as outlined in the welcome orientation sign are followed by all members of your group.

  • Check camp area, shelter and bear lockers prior to leaving, ensure all gear, food and garbage (including diapers) is packed out, and that food lockers are clean.

Group leader legal requirements

If you organized or are leading a group, you have legal responsibilities under the Transport Canada, Small Vessels Regulation [paragraph 300. (1)]. You are considered a guide whether you are paid or a volunteer.

As a guide or leader of a canoe or kayak group, you are required to carry the following equipment:

  1.  Personal Lifesaving Appliances
    (a) one lifejacket or PFD for each person on board; and 
    (b) one buoyant heaving line at least 15 m (49’3") long.

  2. Vessel safety equipment
    (a) a bailer or a manual bilge pump; or
    (b) bilge-pumping arrangements.

  3. Navigation equipment
    (a) a pea-less whistle or other sound-signalling appliance that meets the requirements of the Collision Regulations;
    (b) if the canoe or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility, a watertight flashlight or three pyrotechnic distress signals other than smoke signals (Note: Pyrotechnic distress signals are not a substitute for navigation lights); and
    (c) a magnetic compass if the canoe or kayak is navigating out of sight of navigation markers. There are no navigation markers on Maligne Lake.

First aid kit

A first aid kit is required and should be packed in a waterproof case capable of being tightly closed after use. There are several different options for first aid kits. You can purchase one that meets the standards of the Marine Occupational Safety and Health Regulations or one that meets your provincial Occupational Health and Safety Board. For example, St. John’s Ambulance makes a first aid kit starting at approximately $20.

If you purchase a commercial kit, a resuscitation face mask and two pairs of examination gloves must be included in the kit if they are not already.

You can also build your own first aid kit using a list of items provided in the Transport Canada regulations.

Helmets and PFD/Lifejacket wearing

You are required to ensure that "Every participant in the excursion wears the following safety equipment'':
(i) a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size. In other words, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the clients are actually wearing the proper safety equipment instead of just carrying it.

Cold water

"If the water temperature is less than 15ºC (for most of the year the water temperature of Maligne is well below 15ºC), you are responsible for and will ensure that equipment is immediately available or that procedures are established to protect the participants from the effects of hypothermia or cold shock resulting from swamping, capsizing or falling overboard."

Safety briefing

“Before the beginning of the excursion, ensure that all participants are briefed in either or both official languages, according to their needs, on the safety and emergency procedures relevant to the guided excursion."

Float Plan

“Before the beginning of the excursion, report the number of participants in the excursion to a person on shore who has been designated by the leader to be responsible for communicating with search and rescue authorities in case of an emergency."

Paddle Canada recommends clubs/organizations develop trip schedules/plans (websites, online or offline, etc), if they haven’t already done so, with mechanisms for sanctioning these trips, and determining reporting (pre-trip and post trip) that mirrors a Float Plan. There should also be a risk management plan set up for club/organization trips.