Local Catholic School Board Welcomes Outdoor Education Policy Review

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board is welcoming a review of 'outdoor education policies' across the province.

Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced the review for every school board after the death of a Toronto teen on a school-run canoe trip.

Local Catholic Board Spokesperson Stephen Fields says the board supports any move designed to protect the well-being of its students.

He says for any field trip, the organizers have to conduct a risk assessment, come up with a safety plan and submit it to the principal.

He says there is also a parental consent form.

"We rely very much on parental consent before we approve any kind of field trips," he says.  "So for any kind of field trip that would involve any kind of height or safety risk that might involve swimming or boating or those kinds of things, the organizers of the field trip have to conduct a risk assessment."

Fields says parents also need to inform the teacher if their child can't take part in the activity for any reason.

Minister Hunter also says the ministry will immediately increase funding to life-saving swimming programs and increase awareness about the programs for incoming Canadian residents.

The Toronto District School Board said yesterday that 15 students on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park did not pass a required swimming test including the 15-year old student who died after disappearing in a lake during the trip.