The Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines (Safety Guidelines) originated in 1999. Every year the Safety Guidelines are reviewed and a revised version is released in September of that calendar year.
The modules of the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines support The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education; Ministry of Education The Ontario Curriculum; Grades 9-12: Health and Physical Education.
Intent of the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines
All physical activity comes with inherent risks that can result in physical injury or death. The primary responsibility for the care and safety of students rests with the school board and its employees. An important aspect in fulfilling this role is to recognize that there is an element of risk in all physical activity and to take action accordingly. To this end, the safety guidelines writing team and physical educators across Ontario have identified and analyzed reasonable foreseeable risks and have developed these guidelines to reflect a consensus among qualified persons about procedures that help minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the risk of a preventable accident or injury. A safety guideline alone does not eliminate risk regardless of how well it is written or how effectively it is implemented. Safety awareness, practised by the teacher, based on up-to-date information, common sense observation, action, and foresight, is the key to safe programming. The intent of the Curricular Safety Guidelines is to provide a reference document that will assist the teacher to focus on safe instructional practices for each class activity in order to minimize the inherent element of risk. By implementing safe instructional practices, such as use of logical teaching progressions, as well as inclusion of age-appropriate activities in program preparations, planning and daily teaching, the educator will guard against foreseeable risks. It is hoped that through this implementation process, this document will assist educators in fulfilling their obligation to provide the safest possible environment in which all students, regardless of physical, mental, emotional abilities/challenges or cultural background, can be physically active.
Impact and Scope of this document
The Safety Guidelines statements represent the minimum (minimum does not refer to minimal safety standards but to the minimum requirements for safety standards that must be followed in school-based physical activities) standards for risk management practice for school boards in addressing the safety component of the physical education core program; the interschool program and the intramural program. An activity must not occur unless these statements have been addressed.
Any modifications made to guideline statements must raise the level of safety, not lower it.
The Safety Guidelines are developed with the support of the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (Ophea), the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE), the Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators (OASPHE), the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA), and the Canadian Intramural Recreation Association – Ontario (CIRA).