CANS Accreditation 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

The 3 new and updated 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 by May 1ST.
  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 July 1ST .
  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 March 1ST, if your camp is seeking to be Accredited or Re-Accredited for the following summer. The 3 year Accreditation approval is based on our Association's Fiscal Year which runs form April1 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 3 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!