International Travel Risk Management – Academic Mobility Programs

Academic Affairs

Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Apr 8, 2005

Purpose

To ensure that university-sponsored international academic mobility programs incorporate specific measures to reduce risk and facilitate emergency response to students, faculty and staff when travelling outside Canada .

Policy

This policy applies to all university-approved international academic mobility programs designed, delivered, or organized by faculty, staff or students. These programs include: 

  • All University-approved courses, credit or non-credit, student exchange programs, taught abroad courses, term abroad programs, clinical placements, field studies, research projects, study tours, etc. involving travel outside Canada.
  • Internship/cooperative programs located in another country that have been organized by, and/or contracted with, the University.

All university-approved international academic mobility programs must, at a minimum, incorporate the following measures to protect the well-being of students, manage risks, and support a conducive learning environment:

1)      Central information registry – All students, faculty, staff and volunteers traveling abroad as part of a University-sponsored international academic mobility program are required to provide basic information to a central database to be maintained by the Global Commons. The information shall be kept strictly confidential and used to provide the University with a record of persons abroad at any point in time to facilitate prompt response and support in the event of emergencies or issues of safety and security. Data will include

  • Personal information and critical medical conditions/medication.
  • Program information: sponsoring college/unit, faculty/staff coordinator, dates of travel, itinerary, and accommodation at site. 
  • Emergency contacts at home and abroad.

In addition, students and, if applicable, accompanying instructors will register themselves with Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) through the Registrations of Canadian Abroad webpage at http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/sos/rocapage-en.asp except with respect to activities and locations specified as exempt from this requirement in the Procedures and Guidelines for University Policy No. 7.01 – International Travel Risk Management - Academic Mobility Programs http://www.usask.ca/rmis/risk/international/procedures.pdf.

Students that are not eligible for registration with FAC, e.g. non-Canadians, will register with their national Embassy or High Commission in the country or countries to which they will be traveling. 

2)      Site selection – College/unit program coordinators shall give careful consideration to risk when selecting sites for international academic mobility programs. Deans and department heads are required to approve and monitor program locations based on available risk information, such as Country Travel Reports and Warnings provided by Foreign Affairs Canada, and advice from faculty and other sources with knowledge of the specific location. 

  • At a minimum, activities shall not be permitted to be conducted in locations for which Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) has issued an advisory warning against travel http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories. For the purposes of this policy, students shall be deemed to fall within the tourist category for FAC travel warnings.
  • In the event that FAC issues a travel warning for a location wherein a program is in progress, the warning must be reviewed by the dean and department head in consultation with program coordinator, Global commons and Risk Management and Insurance Services to determine appropriate response and action.     
  • Appeal - Faculty or staff members may appeal a decision to decline, postpone or cancel an international academic mobility program where an FAC travel advisory warning has been issued. The Provost and Vice-President (Academic) will convene an appeal committee comprised of the Provost (Chair), AVP Student and Enrolment, Dean of the affected college or his/her designate,  Director, Global Commons, Manager Risk Management and Insurance Services, and other resources if required. The appeal process is described in the Guidelines and Procedures for International Travel Risk Management – Academic Mobility Programs http://www.usask.ca/rmis/risk/international/procedures.pdf.

3)      Risk Assessment – All parties involved in an international program or project share the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the risks of the specific activities and countries of travel, and to make informed decisions concerning their participation.   

  • All program coordinators will prepare a risk assessment and planning record in accordance with University Policy No. [tba – in draft] - Field Work to identify risks and precautions that will be taken to mitigate risks associated with the program. A copy of the plan shall be provided to the Global Commons office prior to departure, and preferably no later than 21 days before the departure date. 

4)      Mandatory pre-departure orientation - Each student accepted on an international academic mobility program is required to attend orientation sessions prior to departure including: 

  • An academic orientation session, which is the responsibility of the sponsoring college/unit program coordinator; and 
  • A risk and responsibility orientation session, which shall be the responsibility of Global Commons, in cooperation with the college/unit. Global Commons will draw on specialized support from Risk Management and Insurance Services and/or Department of Health, Safety and Environment, where needed.

5)      Insurance – All students and other non-staff participants are required to provide evidence of valid out-of-country medical health insurance to the program coordinator and the Global Commons central registry service 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 - All students and participants other than faculty and staff are required to sign a waiver, release and indemnification agreement, or alternatively an informed consent form in specific cases set out in the Procedures and Guidelines http://www.usask.ca/rmis/risk/international/procedures.pdf, in a format approved by Risk Management and Insurance Services and the Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (CURIE) prior to international travel. Students are also required to sign a consent form to release information to contact persons specified in their personal informational record in the event of an emergency.

7)      Emergency and contingency plans – Program coordinators are required to prepare emergency and contingency plans in accordance with University Policy No. 3.13 – Field Work and Associated Travel Safety. Colleges and units are required to develop and maintain emergency protocol and procedures that interface with applicable University policies and emergency procedures. 

8)      Authority – The Provost and Vice President (Academic), deans, and department heads have the authority to disallow student participation in a program involving international academic mobility if the requirements of this policy have not been met. 

Procedure summary

The Procedures and Guidelines for International Travel Risk Management - Academic Mobility Programs are available at http://www.usask.ca/rmis/risk/international/procedures.pdf.

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
Phone: 306-966-8788