OCA Approved camps and outdoor education centres are planning for camp.
The OCA is working with public health, government officials, and other experts to make summer 2021 safe and healthy for participants and staff at camps and outdoor education centres.
We will continue to update our camps and outdoor education centres as guidance is finalized.
We are proud of our OCA Approved camps, and the way they continue to demonstrate their commitment to safe, inclusive, educational, professional, and fun experiences for all participants!
The regular OCA accreditation process requires adherence to a list of safety and operational standards, and the OCA arranges accreditation visits of each accredited camp once every four years in order to ascertain adherence to the accreditation standards. In addition, certain standards deal with the facility or location of the camp program. Due to the pandemic, no accreditation visits took place in 2020. Click here to read full disclaimer.
OCA Accredited Member camps adhere to over 600 health and safety standards, in areas such as Management and Administration, Human Resources, Campsite, Facilities and Equipment, Health Care, Food Service, Transportation and Programming.
In addition to OCA’s 2021 Standards, camps and outdoor education centres will be adhering to Guidance provided by Public Health.
In 2020, OCA created additional Standards for day camp operations.
The OCA is founded on the understanding that running a camp is a complex and risk-filled operation. The OCA exists to support and accredit camps to meet high standards of addressing the multitude of risks that camps can face. OCA Member camps know that a scandal or tragedy in any camp hurts the entire industry, and therefore we all have a stake in how camps in Ontario are run.
With the constraints placed on both overnight and day camps this summer, the OCA is concerned about a proliferation in less formal “camp” arrangements arising as substitutes. These are expected to take the form of backyard or driveway camps, or rent-a-counsellor programs. While the OCA recognizes the efforts of those trying to meet the need created with the restrictions on camps, the OCA believes that many of these programs may fall short in their levels of management and organizational infrastructure and/or risk management expertise to run safe and effective programs given the numerous risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the kind of thoughtful rigor that the OCA accreditation process provides, these non-accredited programs raise risks for campers, families, staff, volunteers and potentially for the industry as a whole.
Further, the OCA urges its member camps to be cautious about providing these camp experiences themselves and in particular, developing any relationship with these newly-formed programs, including referring campers and families, or lending support for rent-a-counsellor programs that are not directly under member camps’ supervision. For any member camp who does choose to have a relationship, the OCA strongly recommends being very clear on the restrictions in place, seeking legal advice and advising insurers. For any of these programs that intend to run child care programs instead of camps, the OCA additionally recommends that they review the restrictions on childcare in place and the differentiation between childcare and recreational programs as outlined in the Child Care and Early Years Act.
If OCA Members are aware of any programs that are planning to operate, please help them by sharing these documents so they can ensure they are meeting all Ministry and occupational health and safety recommendations.
Each region/municipality has its own Public Health Unit which provides COVID-19 guidance or guidelines for camps operating this summer.