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Outward Bound Canada shines at international inspection

We’re pleased to announce that Outward Bound Canada (OBC) passed the Outward Bound International (OBI) review in September with top marks! This inspection, which takes place every two years, is designed to ensure that all Outward Bound schools around the world are meeting standards, offering mission-driven programs, and managing risk appropriately.

This was the first in-person review since the Covid 19 pandemic began, and we’re excited to share the highlights of our evaluation and the recognition we received from the Outward Bound International team.

people standing on a beach listening to instructor with ocean background

Outward Bound International: A global perspective

OBC is proud to be part of Outward Bound International (OBI), an umbrella organization that oversees schools in 35 countries operating under the Outward Bound name. OBI plays a critical role in maintaining the standards, mission delivery, and risk management of all affiliated schools, with rigorous inspections that encompass every aspect of operations, from the board to the instructors to the students who participate in the programs.

people sitting in a conference room

Nicholas Conceicao, executive director of Outward Bound Singapore, was responsible for conducting the review here in Canada. During his six-day visit, he had the opportunity to learn about our programs on Vancouver Island, and spent a day looking at how the programs are run at the Training Academy. It was the first time anyone from OBI had seen our Training Academy in action. Nicholas recognized the exceptional nature of our program and confirmed that it has the potential to set the standard for other Outward Bound schools worldwide.

Nicholas then traveled to Courtenay to meet our instructors at our base, where they were preparing for the Greenwood trip that took three brigades of students sea kayaking in Clayoquot Sound. While there, he chatted with our board chair and executive director, Andrew Young, our head of program Brendan Madden, and several instructors, program directors and managers to get a comprehensive look at what we do. 

two men standing with lake and mountains behind
Left to right: Executive Directors Andrew Young (Outward Bound Canada) and Nicolas Conceicao (Outward Bound Singapore)


A resounding endorsement

Nick’s observations and evaluations resulted in a resounding endorsement for Outward Bound Canada. We received top marks in most categories, with special recognition for the expertise of our staff and our excellent risk management. The content on our website was praised for its clarity, especially on important issues such as the recent wildfires across Canada, as we place great emphasis on proactive communication to ensure everyone is well informed.

three men smiling sitting on a log

But that’s not all: not only did we shine in the standards for reactive risk management, but we also received top marks for our forward-thinking approach. This means that we not only address past incidents, but also pay attention to emerging trends in risk management – a testament to our commitment to safety and quality. Our use of cutting-edge technology such as the InReach satellite tracking system and satellite phones for courses was also praised, as was our use of advanced            websites and software for climate and weather risk management.

After all the challenges we’ve faced since the pandemic, this inspection was a welcome reminder that we offer world-class outdoor adventure programs. And Nicholas’ comments about his experience with OBC really made us proud:

“Every Outward Bound school commits to a biennial Risk Management Review (RMR) by Outward Bound International. The RMR process aims to assess a school’s organizational capacity to govern, manage, and operate the systems and processes that are intended to deal with risks in four areas: Safety, Financial, Reputational, and Legal. These capacities are assessed in relation to three organizational levels: Governance, Management, and Operations.

The overall goal for OBI endorsement is “Management, operating systems and personnel are appropriate to the scale and nature of the Outward Bound Programs offered and their intended target population”. I’m happy to share that OB Canada has high organization capacities at all levels.

During the review, I was particularly impressed with the professionalism and passion demonstrated by the Board members and staff team I met.  It was evident that OB Canada strives to be an exemplary organisation providing high quality outdoor education and Outward Bound experiences for the community.  Canada has a wide expanse of nature and wilderness which provides wonderful opportunities for learning and self-discovery in the outdoors.  The curriculum developed by the OB Canada Training Academy is also a valuable knowledge resource which can benefit the outdoor community and be an inspiration to aspiring outdoor practitioners.

I’m very pleased to have met with all the wonderful folks at OB Canada and to experience first hand some of the Outward Bound activities and hospitality Canada has to offer!”

three men in hats smiling with lake and trees in background

Outward Bound Canada’s performance in the OBI inspection is a testament to our commitment to providing quality outdoor education. We’ll share the full inspection report with you as soon as it is available, which will be in about a month. Thank you for your support and let’s continue to foster growth and self-discovery through experiential adventures in nature!