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Communication to clubs regarding orienteering & COVID-19

March 25, 2020
To Canadian orienteering clubs and associations,

A number of clubs across Canada are setting up, implementing and promoting semi-permanent orienteering courses. This is an innovative way for us to get outside and be active as we figure out how to navigate our new normal for the next few weeks or months. As we do so, it is imperative that we respect the guidelines and regulations of our governments and health authorities. We must also consider our collective responsibility for the health of all. Our intent with this communication is to give you an update and some guidance in regards to the orienteering activities described above. We’ve been talking with our insurance company and a legal expert to help us understand how orienteering clubs across Canada can best deliver programming that still fits within our insurance requirements and guidelines and also within our collective responsibility to “flatten the curve”. 

REGULATIONS
We ask that you please ensure that any orienteering programming that you are offering COMPLETELY COMPLIES AND ADHERES with your local, provincial and federal Health Authorities and Government regulations and guidelines. We cannot stress this enough – please make sure that your programming follows every recommendation and that you stay up to date as the recommendations will no doubt change. 

COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY
We also all have a social responsibility to stay home during this crisis. And we all know that being active and being outside is critical for our physical and mental health. Please ensure that your programming is respecting that fine line between the message of staying home and the message of being active and getting outside. Over the weekend, in many places across Canada, we saw parking lots and parks full of people getting outside but not respecting social distancing. As a result, several jurisdictions across Canada have closed parks. Several towns and cities have declared states of emergency. Yesterday, Parks Canada announced that all parking lots at Parks Canada sites across the country will be closed. Several tourism-based towns are asking visitors to stay away. Several cross country ski locations have stopped grooming so that people will not fill the parking lots and ski trails. Please consider if your programming is respecting our collective responsibility to stay home. If there is a not-so-busy park within walking or biking distance of someone’s house and they are able to safely do a semi-permanent orienteering course there, that sounds reasonable given what the current regulations are (as of March 25, 2020). If someone gets in their car and drives to a park and parks in a busy parking lot and does some orienteering in that busy park, that doesn’t sound reasonable given the current regulations. So we ask that each club think carefully about this and make sure that each club’s programming and communications aligns with our collective responsibility to the health of all Canadians.
You can check Orienteering Canada’s COVID-19 Update page for relevant information regarding outdoor activity.

STANDARD INSURANCE GUIDELINES
We also want to stress that in order for your semi-permanent course to best comply with Orienteering Canada’s insurance, your club needs to comply with the following which are the same direction that we have for all orienteering events in Canada at all times:

  • The activity must be set up by a properly trained official
  • The activity fits within the regular standards of the sport and the organizer has made attempts to reduce known risks
  • Anyone who participates in your activity must be a registered member of your club (this can include a “day-of” member) and must have signed a waiver (your club may want to consider an inexpensive “COVID-19 season” membership).

You can learn more about the insurance requirements at: http://www.orienteering.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Insurance-Writeup-for-Website-2017.pdf

@HOME ACTIVITIES
The activities that we are talking about above are only relevant if we stay in the current scenario. We also may be in a “lock-down” scenario where people will not be able to leave their home except for groceries, etc. And there are currently many Canadians who are in quarantine or are self-isolating and are not able to leave their home. To address these situations, we also know that several clubs are working on suggestions and challenges for our orienteering community to do at home (inside or in the backyard). We will be sharing these activities through Orienteering Canada’s social media and the website. If you have an idea that you want to share  or need some help to implement an idea, please reach out to us (charlotteATorienteering.ca). There has been no better time for the entire Canadian orienteering community to work together and share ideas… as we are all in this together. Here’s a link to @Home activities that SOGO Adventure Running is creating for their pre-school program (SOGO Squirts) families – a great example of the type of “at home” activities that we can share and promote.

Please contact us if you have any questions at all about this. You can contact the Orienteering Executive Director, Tracy at tracyATorienteering.ca or the President, Anne at presidentATorienteering.ca.

We have been watching orienteering clubs across the country be so innovative as we tackle this unprecedented crisis. It’s wonderful and inspiring. Thank you.  

Stay safe. Stay healthy. We are all in this together.

Orienteering Canada

Postponement of the 2020 Canadian Rockies Orienteering Festival until 2021


With all the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and in line with other sporting events, the 2020 Canadian Rockies Orienteering Festival (CROF) including the 2020 Canadian Orienteering Championships (COCs), Western Canadian Orienteering Championships (WCOCs), Crowsnest Barebones events and the Sass Peepre National Training Junior Camp scheduled to take place in July 3-12, 2020 have been postponed until 2021.

This will be a disappointment for many, as it is to the organizers, but we feel at this time, it is the only responsible decision to make. We do not take this decision lightly, as 2020 will be the first time that the Canadian Orienteering Championships will not be held since the first COCs in 1968.

The Canadian Rockies Orienteering Festival will be rescheduled for the summer of 2021.

Please see the full statement with more details at: https://crof2020.com/

Orienteering Canada statement and updates re COVID-19

We are in unpredictable and uncertain times. The impact of COVID-19 is changing daily and having a significant impact on our daily lives.

All orienteering clubs and associations must monitor information and advice of the WHO and the Government of Canada and public health authorities in their respective provincial/territorial jurisdictions, as well as that of their municipal and/or local health authorities, to assess the risks and to make the best decision for their organization’s programs.

And to all the people who make up our community, please follow the recommendations of your health authorities in your day to day lives. 

The following resources provide updates from the government and relevant health authorities about the current status of COVID 19 and up to date recommendations and best practices:

Latest update from the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee – March 25th update – english / french

Updates from the Canadian orienteering community:

  • Clubs and associations, please read Orienteering Canada’s communication (March 25th) about organizing semi-permanent events and other activities during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Canadian Rockies Orienteering Festival (including the Canadian Orienteering Championships have been postponed until 2021. More info.
  • Sage Stomp (and Team Trials) have been cancelled. More info.
  • World Orienteering Day 2020 ( May 13-19 ) has been cancelled.
  • Hamilton (Adventure Running Kids), Calgary (SOGO Adventure Running) and Ottawa’s kids programming have been cancelled for the spring.
  • All orienteering clubs in Canada have cancelled events until further notice.

General information about outdoor activity (note that regulations and guidelines differ across the country and will change as needed)

Updates from the global orienteering community:

  • 2020 North American Championships –
    “Mar 15, 2020 COVID-19 Virus – Planning and preparations for the Festival are proceeding at this time. The California Orienteering Festival 2020 is still four months away. We are evaluating a number of possibilities, but it is too soon to judge how Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect the event. The health of our participants and volunteers is our primary concern. We are following developments closely with the help of the latest announcements from relevant authorities; we will follow the guidelines laid down by those authorities.”
  • All IOF major events which had been planned up to May 31 are cancelled or postponed.
  • World Orienteering Day 2020 which was planned to be held in the timeframe May 13-19 is cancelled.
  • For IOF events to be held in June and July, the Council will continue to monitor the situation and will discuss and decide upon any further effects on these events at its scheduled Council meeting April 3-4. (The meeting will be held digitally) The IOF is already in contact with these organisers regarding contingency planning. More info.
  • The postponed 2020 World Cup round #1 will take place in 2021. Same terrain, similar set-up and part of the World Cup 2021.
  • The International University Sports Federation  FISU, have announced the cancellation of the 2020 World University Orienteering Championship that should have taken place in Russia in July.
  • The World Masters Orienteering Championships (WMOC ) 2020 scheduled to be held August 7-15 in Slovakia has to be cancelled. The event will be re-scheduled to be held in Slovakia at the latest in 2023.
  • From the IOF: The international sports calendars for 2020 and 2021 are being revised and the overall impact is not yet known. Particularly the final placement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the calendar can have an impact on many sports events including the World Masters Games/WMOC in Japan in 2021. But is too early to tell. The IOF will come back with information as it becomes available.

Ideas and best practices to responsibly continue orienteering during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Orienteering Canada is offering its conference call line to clubs, associations and event organizing committees to meet virtually as needed between now and April 30th (will extend this offer as needed). Orienteering Canada will pay the costs. Contact tracy@orienteering.ca or Anne at president@orienteering.ca to schedule your call and get the necessary dial-in info.
  • Video conferencing: Orienteering Canada now has a business Zoom license. If your club would like to use it, please contact
    tracy@orienteering.ca.

Your club/association can send updates/ideas to communications@orienteering.ca and we will add them to this page

Course Planner's Corner

We’ll be adding course planning tips & tricks to this page. Contact technical AT orienteering.ca if you have questions you would like answered or suggestions….


An Intro to Technical Difficulty 1

Written by Carol Walker, Technical Committee

Orienteering courses for kids under 10 should have technical difficulty 1. What does that mean? The most important idea is that technical difficulty 1 can never be too easy! We want these kids to be out in the woods finding controls and having fun, not getting frustrated. The course should be like a guided tour around the orienteering map. Every competitor should find all of the controls.

The course should follow distinct linear features like roads and paths. You could also use walls and fences if they are easy to see, perhaps in open areas. For this difficulty level, we don’t want any route choices so there should be a control at every decision point. Watch out for situations like a brief split in the trail; there should be a control at each end of the split. The controls should be placed just after the decision point, leading the competitor in the right direction. If there is any chance of confusion, use streamers between the controls. We want these kids to get lots of positive feedback so controls should be close together; you might even have controls between decision points.

Finding the right location for easiest course can be one of the hardest tasks for the course setter! Course 1 might determine your start and finish locations. It’s worth it, though, to make sure our kids get a fun and successful introduction to orienteering. Remember, you can’t make Course 1 too easy!