A waiver is a legally binding contract, in which the participant in an activity agrees not to hold the organization responsible or liable for any injuries that they might receive as a result of participating in the organizations programs.
A waiver is a very onerous contract because by signing it, the participant agrees not only to expose themselves to the physical risks of the activity, but also the legal risks.
Physical Risks are the risks, dangers and hazards that are inherent in an activity. For example, in the sport of rock-climbing, every climber knows they could be injured from a fall.
Legal risks are the risks that the organizers of an activity will behave negligently. This means in managing the program and dealing with the participants they will not meet the reasonable standard of care required by law. In the rock-climbing example, a climber could be injured if the organizer did not properly attach a climbing support to the rock resulting in a fall.
Waivers should be utilized for events such as field trips or social outings where high risk activities are involved such as travel or rough terrain, alcohol or physical contact or exertion. Waivers should not be used when academic assessment is required. In these situations an informed consent agreement should be used. An individual needs to be eighteen years (18) or older to sign a waiver.
The waiver must specifically state the obvious and foreseeable risks, dangers and hazards that the participant is being asked to accept.
The waiver must list all parties to be covered, as well as all activities.
Waiver completion process should follow developed procedures and guidelines that will help ensure consistent administration for all situations. A waiver is a serious contract and should be treated as such. Program administrators should oversee waiver administration with utmost due care and seriousness.
Please consider the provided template and have the Manager, Insurance and Risk Management review any alterations you have made. Waivers are specific to a unique set of circumstances and MUST be tailored to each activity and scenario.
An Informed Consent is an alternative to a waiver. Parties signing this document are only consenting to the known and foreseeable physical risks inherent in the activity and not to the legal risks of negligence. Informed consents can be a good deterrent to legal action. Similar to waivers, they must be written carefully and administered in an appropriate manner.
An informed consent must not list negligence as an inherent risk to the activity. The participant must have knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the risks and must voluntarily consent to be exposed to the risks.
An informed consent should be used for all field trips or other activity where participation is compulsory or where there is a requirement for academic assessment and/or for participants who are under the age of eighteen years (18). Where risks inherent in the activity are extremely high (High Risk Activity), organizers should consider alternative activities, or make the activity voluntary. In the case of a high-risk event where no alternative is available a waiver should be implemented, and an alternative method of assessment should be provided to those who do not want to participate.
Please consider the provided template and have the Manager, Insurance and Risk Management review any alterations you have made. Informed consent forms are specific to a unique set of circumstances and MUST be tailored to each activity and scenario.
A Waiver/Informed Consent has a maximum “usage” of 1 year. For example, if you have a waiver for a drop-in activity that goes throughout the year, you are required to set up a system to ensure that each Participant signs a new waiver at least once a year. If you change any activities in the drop-in program or add activities that were not originally considered when the waiver/informed consent was built, you must update the document. Once completed, all Participants must sign the new document.
Make sure documents are copied in a back-to-back format and in colour. The best method is to have participants sign the document in advance of the Event. If this cannot be done, ensure they are given access to the document at least 1-2 weeks in advance of the Event so content can be reviewed and an opportunity to ask questions is provided.
An employee of the university is the best choice as they may have to testify in court that they witnessed the signature. If necessary, a witness can be anyone who is not related to the participant.
Only a parent or legal guardian of the child can sign an Informed Consent on behalf of the minor. Adult informed consents must be signed by the participant.
Participants cannot alter/change the waiver/informed consent document in any way. We do not accept altered documents. In order to participate in the Event, they must sign the document as is.
Reply as follows: “The document you are asked to sign is a Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement. It is a legal document and by signing it, you are giving up certain legal rights, including the right to sue, should you be injured while participating in this Event." Avoid a more elaborate explanation, but suggest the Participant re-read the document. If the participant has questions, please direct them to Insurance and Risk Management at 613 533-2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Encourage the Parent/Guardian to re-read the document as it is in clear terms. If the parent/guardian has questions, please direct them to Insurance and Risk Management at 613 533-2005 or email@example.com
Waivers and Informed Consents should be filed in your department and retained for as per the Insurance and Risk Management Retention Schedule found on the Queen's Library page.
Contact Campus Security and Emergency Services at 613 533-6733. They will initiate emergency response if the accident is significant. All accidents are required to be recorded by CSES. Risk Management & Insurance may contact you to obtain the original of the signed waiver/informed consent.