President’s Corner: December 2018

693

COPA for Kids and Vulnerable Sector Checks for Pilots in 2019

Many of you may have seen this in our COPA for Kids guide. The decision to implement the
Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) requirement was not taken lightly, nor is it something we
particularly wanted to do. In the end it boiled down to a combination of our lawyers and
insurance providers both telling us that there was not much of a future for COPA for Kids
without some sort of industry-standard, recognized vetting of those working directly in
positions with the kids.

In all of the years that we have offered COPA for Kids, we are very proud of the fact that there has never been either an incident or an allegation of impropriety coming out of the program. However, given the current state of the legal world around these issues, we were advised that without having this requirement in place, as has become the standard for all groups providing programming for youth, we – COPA and the COPA Flights – would not be able to show we had exercised our reasonable duty of care to the minors participating in our program. Consequently, it could potentially be financially ruinous for COPA, the individual COPA Flights, and the pilots themselves were we forced to fight an allegation in court. This becomes particularly more relevant as we expand the program to allow pilots to conduct sanctioned, insurance-covered flights outside of an organized COPA for Kids event day like with neighbours, friends, work colleagues or anyone, whether youth or adults.

We tried to make it as easy as possible on the pilots by stipulating that if anyone has done a check for another organization, such as Cadets, Scouts/Guides, school teams etc., that we would accept a copy of that check provided it is not older than three years. We are counting on the pilots’ commitment to the cause of COPA for Kids and the preservation of GA, that they would not see this as a reason not to participate. We also tried to give as much advance warning about the new requirement as possible so that no one was being caught off guard or unable to complete the checks due to the varying processing times across the country. It is worth mentioning that anyone thinking of volunteering as a COPA for Kids pilot should get the check done – valid for three years, and then they are able to volunteer as they see fit or their schedule allows.

The details can be found on our website under Events and COPA for Kids, where you will find the guide that has all the required information. Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation.

Until we meet again next year at our events and our gatherings, from everyone at COPA,
Seasons’ Greetings to all!