Purpose: The Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) is the umbrella organization for the Canadian outdoor sector. The OCC addresses structural barriers hindering the ability of outdoor programs to reach their full impact.
OCC members represent the thousands of individuals and businesses who bring Canadians outdoors. Every year, these people offer powerful experiences to millions of Canadians and contribute billions of dollars to the Canadian economy.
When our work will be done, outdoor programs and their staff will be recognized for their true value, the unfair risk perception associated with outdoor activity will be eliminated, provincial and federal governments will invest to develop the sector, and other unnecessary barriers such as unreasonable insurance premiums will be removed.
Bringing the national outdoor community together
The outdoor sector has a wealth of passionate individuals replete with expertise, and dozens of organizations dedicated to furthering the goals of their community. However, the lack of cohesion in individual efforts leads to an incalculable amount of wasted resources. The OCC saves time and resources by facilitating the process of creating a true national outdoor community. One where our contributions and expertise is valued as we support each other in achieving shared goals. Outdoor programs are experts at building community in the field, now it is time to do the same when back at the office. By promoting collaboration within the sector we increase each others voices, and leverage our collective experience and knowledge to advance our individual and collective missions.
This national outdoor community will be leveraged to address unnecessary crippling barriers for outdoor programs. The issue of insurance, where one industry effectively hinders another industry from developing is one such example. With a unified community, a strong business impetus can be presented to the insurance industry and develop mechanisms where risk exposure is accurately assessed, and premiums are fairly devised.
Responsibilities for the development of outdoor activities are scattered at all government levels leading to a significant reduction in funding compared to other sectors.
The OCC is reclaiming the central role of outdoor activities in our national heritage and asking for the creation of a federal outdoor activity commission with a mandate to support a cooperative relationship between the private sector and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories with respect to outdoor activities in Canada.
Outdoor programs also suffer from a negative public perception, leading to a reduction in the perceived value of the activities offered and an over-inflation of the risk exposure.
The OCC is facilitating the marketing of outdoor programs by speaking to the multifaceted value provided by their activities and showcasing the risk management expertise within the sector leading to low-risk exposure in most activities.
INCREASING LEADERSHIP CAPACITY
Living in a confederation means that federal advocacy efforts are to be complemented by provincial efforts.
Governments are interested in supporting the growth of the outdoor sector and need to be guided by representatives of the sector from their province.
The OCC is supporting the development of provincial coalitions of outdoor organizations. These concerted efforts in connection with a national plan will transform what is possible for outdoor programs.
The OCC also increases leadership capacity through Field Leader courses, which synthesize accepted outdoor leadership practices into an easy to use model.
These courses increase the capacity of professional and para-professional leaders to offer great experiences outdoors by presenting foundational leadership principles.
These courses both celebrate the complex competencies associated with the important role of outdoor leader and increases the sector's resilience by allowing thousands of leaders to provide safer experiences in nature.