Government travel controversies expose need for risk management plans, experts say


Experts say the backlash against Canadian politicians who travelled to warmer climes over the holidays despite public health warnings to stay home is a wake-up call that organizations need clear risk management plans.
They say the fallout of ignoring travel restrictions could have lasting repercussions on individual careers, an organization's reputation and, more critically, public adherence to COVID-19 rules.
Omer Livvarcin, co-author of a book on risk management and part-time business professor at the University of Ottawa, says the vacation controversy has exposed the need for organizations to have robust risk management plans.
But he says it's not enough to simply identify the risks, but to develop a clear action plan with rules for navigating the pandemic and managing the public image of the organization and its leaders.
Still, Livvarcin says any politician that had planned to go south on vacation this winter has likely already cancelled their plans in the wake of the vacation scandal.
Coleen Clark, professor emeritus at Ryerson University, says clear rules are needed because everyone assesses risk differently and some people don't feel the travel warnings apply to them.