Accreditation Program & Process

The Camping Association of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island (CANSPEI) Camp Accreditation Program

The Provincial Camping Associations across Canada are recognized by the Canadian Camping Association as the only organizations in their respective provinces that have the authority to accredit their Association’s Member Residential Camps as being an Accredited Camp. In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, The Camping Association of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island (CANSPEI) has been conducting such accreditations since 2000. The goal of the CANSPEI Accreditation Program is to promote the safety and well-being of the children, teens and staff while they are attending residential camps in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. This goal is operationalized by way of the CANSPEI Accreditation Standard Manual. This Manual lays out accreditation standards that are generally recognized residential camping best practices, standards and due diligence practices in camp administration, staff and volunteer hiring, training and certifications, facilities requirements and maintenance, all aspects of program planning and delivery, food service operation, camp sanitation and emergency planning and first aid safety.

In 2013 CANSPEI undertook an extensive review of these standards as well as the method and way by which CANSPEI conducts the actual process of camp accreditation. This review has resulted in an new updated Accreditation Standard Manual, a new Accreditation Documentary Audit Check List of the documentation that a camp must produce during the Accreditation Visitation Audit and a new Camp Accreditation Annual Undertaking that all camps must sign each year in order to maintain their standing as an Accredited Camp.

For a PDF copy of each of these 3 new documents, please click on the each of the following:

Accreditation Standards Manual PDF

Accreditation Documentary Check List PDF

Camp Accreditation Annual Undertaking PDF

In addition, a consolidated list of all Standards and revisions that are not currently in the latest Manual version is available as a Standards Revisions PDFThese Standards Revisions are now effective for the new fiscal year commencing April 1, 2018.

New Boating Accreditation Standards were published in 2017 and replace all the Boating Standard in the Manual.

An updated Manual, incorporating and consolidating all these changes will be published later in fiscal 2018-19.

The CANSPEI Accreditation documents and the new accreditation process accomplishes a number of key needs and objectives which:

  • Reflect the updates in regulatory requirements as well as developments in generally recognized camping best practices since 2007, when the last version of the Standards Manual was published.
  • Remove unnecessary standards and clarifies confusing standards.
  • Change a lot of previously “desired” standards in the 2007 Manual to “mandatory” in this new Manual. In most cases these past “desirable standards” are now fundamental best practices and/or safety practices that most camps are presently following – such as making the CRC+VSS checks mandatory for hiring. While there is no question we are “raising the bar” for all camps, this is fundamentally in the best interest of all our Member camps and for the safety and best interests of the children and staff that attend our Member’s residential camps.
  • Focus less on the camp accreditation visitation by the CANSPEI Accreditation Team, as being about the physical inspection of the camp’s facilities on just the day of the camp visitation. This is because the camp inspection and annual licensing of camp facilities is already being done by provincial regulating agencies and departments as part of the Provincial residential camp licensing requirements. And because under the new Accreditation process the visitation by the CANSPEI Accreditation Team will,
  • Focus more on assessing the written documentation and records maintenance of the camp’s polices, procedures, practices, and monitoring systems and records keeping that documents that the camp can demonstrate that it has the necessary management and administrative competence, capability and due diligence of systems in place in order for the camp to reach, maintain and monitor their own compliance to the Accreditation Standards. In other words, the new Accreditation Documentary Check List is for the Camp to document and demonstrate that it has in the past and can in the future “do” the Accreditation Standards.
  • Since only 2 of our Member camps have a dedicated focus on servicing the special needs population, the special needs standards have been removed from of the New Accreditation Standards that all Accredited Camp must meet. The existing Special Needs Standards will remain as the additional standards requirements that Special Needs camps must also meet.

Overview of How the CANSPEI New Accreditation Process Will Work in the Future

If your camp would like to become a CANSPEI Accredited Camp or if your camp needs to Re-Accredit (this continues to be required every 3 years) here is what your camp needs to do:

  1. Download the Accreditation Application PDF (for the PDF click here).
  2. Complete the Application form and then fax (902-479-2839) or email it to us.
  3. Mail in your camp’s Accreditation Fee.
  4. Download all 3 of the above new Accreditation process PDF documents.
  5. Review and check off whether your camp is meeting each of the standards in the Accreditation Standards Manual.
  6. Review the documentation requirements in the Accreditation Documentary Check List and then assemble your camp’s documentation.
  7. Call or email us to book an appointment for our Accreditation Visitation Audit Team to visit your offices or camp to review all your camp’s documentation. Plan for a full day.
  8. Have your Camp Director and a signing Officer from your camp sign the Camp Accreditation Annual Undertaking. If your camp is newly Accrediting, give the original to the Visitation Team. You will also provide the Visitation Team a copy of the Accreditation Standards Manual that you have completed in checking off.
  9. Please note: ALL ACCREDITED CAMPS MUST NOW SIGN THE ANNUL UNDERTAKING EACH YEAR. If your camp is currently accredited for the year, please sign the Annual Undertaking, scan and then email us the PDF by June 30TH .
  10. The Visitation Team can visit your camp during the summer OR at your offices in the winter to view your camp’s documentation records. The latest date for a Visitation is January 28, if your camp is seeking to be Accredited or Re-Accredited for the following summer. The 5 year Accreditation expiry date is based on our Association’s Fiscal Year which runs form April 1 to March 31.
  11. If you are first time Accrediting Camp we will also want to visit your camp to learn more about your operations and program.
After the Visitation the Team has completed their visit, they will then make a recommendation to the CANSPEI Accreditation Committee to accredit your camp or alternatively outline where they feel additional work is still required by your camp. The Committee will review all recommendations and make suggestions where appropriate. At this point, if there are still outstanding issues or concerns, the Committee will advise you and you will have the opportunity to address these issues.

The Accreditation Committee will then make a final recommendation to the Board of Directors, who have the final approval. If your Camp is approved for Accreditation then you will received an email from the Chair of the Accreditation Committee and/or the President confirming such. Your camp’s Accreditation Certificate (valid for 5 years) will then be printed. Our normal practice is to award these at the Annual General Meeting each year. And your Camp can now publicize that you are now an Accredited Camp!

Our mission is to help your camp become an Accredited Camp and/or Re-Accredit again. We are here to help, share resources and practices, make suggestions, talk through your concerns and support your camp so as your can reach and maintain Accreditation. So please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime to talk about the Check List or the Standards!

Maintenance of Accreditation Status – Terms & Conditions:

Accreditation by the Association is CONDITIONAL upon each Accredited Camp meeting a number of terms, conditions and requirements and the Board of Directors of the Association may rescind and terminate the Camp’s Accreditation at any time. To maintain their Accreditation status, Accredited Camps must, to the satisfaction of the Board or Directors of the Association:

  1. Maintain their Camp’s good standing with the Association
  2. Follow and comply with the CANSPEI Mandatory Accreditation Standards, relevant to their Camp’s operations and programming,
  3. Annually file their Annual Accreditation Report and
  4. Annually file their Annual Accreditation Undertaking and
  5. Annually file the Camp’s Annual Operations and Camper Participation Data filing. 

Furthermore if the Accredited Camp experiences a significant change in the Camp’s operations or management or Board oversight or in the Camp’s infrastructure, that would limit the Camp’s ability to comply to the Mandatory Standards to the satisfaction of the Board or Directors of the Association, the Board of Directors may likewise rescind and terminate the Camp’s Accredited Camp Accreditation status.

Such significant changes may include for example, in the judgement of the Board of Directors of the Association, the Accredited Camp suffers a signifiant operations lapse, discontinuation or other such operations continuity issue.  Such as the Camp does not operated for a year and/or the existing senior Camp Operations Manager, which is generally referred as as the Camp Director or the General Manager or the Executive Manager, leaves the Camp or the Camp’s Board of Directors or Oversight Committee experiences a significant replacement of those Board Members who have depth and continuity of knowledge of the Camp’s operations, so as to enable the Camp to operate in compliance with the CANSPEI Mandatory Accreditation Standards.  In such a case the Board of Directors of the Association will seek to contact the Camp and inquire and discuss these issues with the Camp. Subsequently the Association’s Board may terminate that Camp’s Accredited Camp Accreditation status and/or require the Camp to Re-Accredit by undergoing a full Accreditation Audit, before their existing Accredited Camp Certificate expires, and pay the existing applicable Accreditation fee. If an Accredited Camp’s Accreditation is rescinded or terminated by the Association’s Board, for any of the causes outlined above, the Association will notify the Accredited Camp of such in writing and no refund of their previous Accreditation fee payment will be made. The notified Camp can in turn write the Board to appeal the rescinding of their Accreditation.

It is the responsibility of all our Association’s Accredited Camps to notify the Association of any such significant changes.