International Travel Risk Management for Student Mobility

Academic Affairs

Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Apr 8, 2005
Amended: Jul 29, 2014

Purpose

To ensure that all programs and activities that involve student mobility internationally and are university-authorized and/or funded, in whole or in part, incorporate specific measures to reduce risk and facilitate emergency response to students, faculty, staff and other participants, before and during travel outside Canada.

Scope

This policy applies to all programs and activities that involve student mobility internationally and are university-authorized and/or funded, in whole or in part, including programs and activities that are designed, delivered, and/or organized by faculty, staff or students and/or externally contracted organizations. These programs and activities involving travel outside Canada include, but are not limited to: courses (credit or non-credit), student exchange programs and activities; taught abroad courses; term abroad programs; clinical placements, internship placements, cooperative placements or programs; field studies; research projects, conferences, workshops; sports and cultural activities; or study tours.  All student mobility programs and activities that meet these conditions must, at a minimum, incorporate the following measures to protect the well-being of students and manage risks associated with international travel.

Policy

1)      Site selection: College/unit program coordinators shall give careful consideration to risk when selecting sites for programs that involve student mobility internationally and are university authorized and/or funded in whole or in part.   All site selection should be approved by Deans, or their designates, or in the case of activities that fall outside the jurisdiction of a college or graduate school, the Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) or designate.  Approval should be based on available risk information, such as Travel Advisories provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and other sources with knowledge of the specific location. 

  • At a minimum, activities shall not be permitted to be conducted in locations for which DFATD has issued an “Avoid non-essential travel” or more severe advisory. 
  • Exemption: Where an “Avoid non-essential travel” or more severe travel advisory has been issued by DFATD prior to trip approval or departure, faculty, staff members or students may request an exemption from site selection criteria that would otherwise result in a decision to decline, postpone or cancel programs or activities falling under the purview of this policy, following the exemption request process and criteria described in the Procedures and Guidelines for International Travel Risk Management for Student Mobility (Procedures and Guidelines).
  • Where an “Avoid non-essential travel” or more severe travel advisory has been issued by DFATD while a trip is in progress, the situation must be reviewed by the respective Dean, or designate, or the Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) or designate in consultation with a program coordinator/trip leader (where applicable), and the Managers of International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) and Risk Management and Insurance Services (RMISC), or their designates.
  • ISSAC acts as a central resource in site selection, site exemption and is responsible for ongoing international travel advisory monitoring. 

2)    Risk Assessment and Emergency/Contingency Plans: All parties involved in programs or activities involving student mobility internationally share the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the risks of the specific activities and countries and regions of travel, to make informed decisions concerning their participation, and take action to minimize risks associated with international travel. 

  • All university-authorized programs or activities involving student mobility internationally require risk assessment and emergency plans as described in University Policy - Field Work and Associated Travel Safety.  Plans should reflect applicable university crisis response policies and procedures as outlined in the Procedures and Guidelines. 
  • ISSAC, with consultation from Risk Management and Insurance Services, shall assist staff and faculty with the development of risk assessment and planning documentation. 

3)     International Travel Registry (ITR): All students, faculty, staff and other program or activity participants who are traveling abroad as part of a program or activity involving student mobility internationally and are university-authorized and/or funded, in whole or in part, are required to provide basic information in the ITR to be maintained by ISSAC. The information in the ITR shall be used to provide the university with a record of persons abroad at any point in time to facilitate response and support in the event of emergencies or issues of safety and security. Consent to release information in emergency situations will be included in the ITR.

4)     Risk and Responsibility Training: Each student participating in a program or activity that involves international travel and is university-authorized and/or funded, in whole or in part, is required to complete risk and responsibility pre-departure training, as described in the Procedures and Guidelines.  Risk and responsibility training shall be the responsibility of ISSAC, in cooperation with the college/unit in which the student mobility program or activity is housed.  ISSAC will draw on specialized support from Risk Management and Insurance Services and/or Workplace Safety and Environmental Protection where needed.

5)     Insurance: All students and non-staff participants in student mobility programs that meet the conditions of this policy are required to maintain out-of-country medical health insurance and record their policy number into the ITR prior to travel.  The insurance must provide coverage for the full duration of travel, and include coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. 

6)     Waivers and releases: Prior to international travel, all students and non-staff participants involved in student mobility programs that meet the conditions of this policy are required to sign a University of Saskatchewan waiver, release and indemnification agreement or, alternatively, an informed consent form in specific cases set out in the Procedures and Guidelines, in a format that will be provided and approved by Risk Management and Insurance Services and the Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (CURIE).

7)     Authority: Where the requirements of the policy have not been met, Deans, or their designates, or the Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) or designate, in the case of activities that fall outside the jurisdiction of a college or graduate school, have the authority to disallow student participation in programs and activities covered in this policy. As per the Procedures and Guidelines, any risk factors related to travelers will be brought to the Dean’s attention prior to travel.

Procedure summary

The Procedures fall under the authority of the Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) or designate in consultation with Risk Management and Insurance Services. This includes revisions as appropriate. Any significant revision must be reported to the International Activities Committee of Council. 

The Procedures and Guidelines for International Travel Risk Management for Student Mobility are available at http://www.usask.ca/sesd/info-for-instructors/taking-students-abroad.php.    

Related policies

Field Work and Associated Travel Safety

Related Documents

There are no other documents associated with this policy.

Contact Information

Contact Person: Manager, Risk Management and Insurance Services 306-966-8788
Phone: Manager, International Student and Study Abroad Centre 306-966-4923