Training & Development response to and recovery from COVID-19

The Training & Development Committee (TDC) is comprised of the coordinators and the division training managers (DTMs) who have met over the past weeks to further develop strategies for training in response to COVID-19.

Canada’s COVID-19-positive cases continues to vary by province. A phased-in approach is being used to “return to normalcy” in each jurisdiction. All approaches include physical distancing restrictions until the availability of treatment for the public. While there may be gatherings of greater than ten people allowed, physical distancing requirements of six feet may preclude classes being started in the near future.

TDC is proposing a phased-in approach for the return to patrolling. The focus of any training will be on new candidates for both AFA/eAFA and OS.

Discussions are still in process with the province of Quebec Ministry of Education and Sports. Options will be provided in the possibility that Quebec will not be granted the option to extend qualifications for AFA.

1. Overview

The March interim COVID-19 proposal was approved by the Board of Directors for the following:

  • Regular Members
    • certification is extended to expire on December 31, 2021
    • must requalify for AFA, including BLS, prior to December 31, 2021
    • upon requalification the certification is valid until December 31, 2022
  • Instructors and Instructor Trainers 
    • certifications expiring in 2020 will have a one calendar year extension from current expiration date
    • instructor training courses for 2020-2021 suspended until March 31, 2021, unless approved by the national VP Training and Development or designate

2. Instructors & Instructor Yearly Update (IYU)

The requirement to achieve the necessary hours for the appropriate instructor level is to be waived for the 2019-2020 season and/or 2020-2021 season, as appropriate at the discretion of the ZTM.

T&D is planning a virtual meeting in June with the DTMs to provide an overview of the educational manual changes and the modules affected by the changes

DTMs and ZTMs will work together to provide virtual meetings with instructors between June and the start of new candidate classes (if permitted). This virtual meeting will provide the basis of the AFA IYU required for instructors to review the updated material, discuss instructional approaches to the new material, and review the evaluations.

3. Certification/Recertification of Instructors

A revised instructor course is currently underway to consolidate the assistant and instructor courses, but also to reflect best practices with instructing online courses. Plans are in development to hold virtual meetings similar to the AFA updates (as noted in item number two above) by Brian Low, national ICP Coordinator, to provide an overview of the course. A date will be determined pending any changes to the budget through the fall.

This meeting will also provide an overview of the revisions to the yearly updating process of instructors to introduce the discipline-specific seminars to introduce/reinforce progressive instruction techniques to new and for recertifying instructors (every three years).

New instructor courses and recertification sessions are set to restart April 1, 2021.

4. New Candidates

It is unknown if/when/how CSP can start to offer classes to new candidates, e.g. how many, if any candidates will register to join, and the ongoing impact of physical distancing measures required by the provinces. If physical distancing is still required, classes for new candidates may not be allowed to begin due to the hands-on nature (and close proximity to students and instructors) required to complete competencies in the program. Discussions are to begin shortly to address these issues.

If permitted by provincial jurisdictions, TDC is aiming for six months (September/October) for easing of restrictions for groups to meet and physical distancing to be removed:

  • Instructors will be prepared through attending IYUs with ZTM as previously indicated
  • Courses may start at any point from October onwards
  • 2019 evaluations will be used with revised for date of 2020
  • Currently developed evaluations to be held back and used for 2021-2022

5. Returning Patrollers


No evaluations (written exam, diagnostics, BLS and training record) are to be done for the 2020-2021 training season (excluding Quebec).
Discussions are currently ongoing with the Quebec provincial government Ministry of Educations and Sports. If the extensions are not allowed and the 16-hour requalification course is required, a modified course will be planned and offered. Suggestions to be discussed further but could include:

  • Online courses will be approx. 1½ hours
  • Use of the 2019 written evaluation
  • Use of previous years diagnostic for review and discussion


There are updates required for review based on Alberta Plus accreditation. The updating for patrollers will be accomplished through online learning of the requalification module, associated new AFA modules, and the mutual respect module. These will be available for release online by July 2020 for those patrollers who have paid their registrations fees. Viewing of the online learning by registered returning patrollers will be tracked by the instructors in coordination with the ZTM. Reminders will be sent to patrollers at various intervals to complete as part of the requalification requirement. By the first day of scheduled patrolling or Dec 1st, whichever is earliest, a final notice will be sent to the patrollers that if it is not completed within ten days, they will have their patrol qualification suspended.

Training records will be available to start as per usual on Jan 1, 2021. Any training records started or completed in 2020 winter will not carry forward to 2021.

It is encouraged that a patrol may CHOOSE options such as:

  • View first aid training videos for practicing treatments available online or through ePUB AFA manual or bandaging parties organized by a patrol
  • Group run-through of patient assessment at walk the hill day
  • Group run-through of BLS process rather than using equipment as will be more an issue due to limited resources so difficult to have as part of requalification


A revised card will be provided a new expiry date (ex. current card date: Oct 10, 2019 – new card date: Oct 10, 2021).

CSP does not have the legal right to extend BLS certification from a 3rd party agency. Therefore, the patroller will need to provide:

  • Proof of recent recertification date
  • Proof of current card is valid for a second additional year
  • Proof of extension by the third-party AFA agency of the certification date


A phased approach is being considered for the 2020-2021 on-snow training (dependent on ski resort start within each region):

  • Late start: new candidates only if season
  • Late start: new candidates and patrollers determined by the area to need refresher training
  • Regular start: new and returning patrollers
  • Instructor IYU to be planned if sufficient time given above
  • National On-snow Seminar continues in planning as will be cost recovery

6. Patrollers Returning from Sabbaticals

Patrollers returning from a sabbatical (who do not have a 2019-2020 qualification date) on NDS do not qualify for the qualification extension. It does need to be acknowledged that accommodations for their requalification will be determined by physical distancing measures of the province.

Any patroller with a one-year sabbatical, regardless of years of service, can be offered:

  • To attend new candidate course to cover the updates and evaluations
  • IF there are either too many candidates in an AFA/eAFA class OR too many returning sabbatical patrollers, DTMs must determine with ZTMs an alternative process for the returning candidates (ex. attending a one-day session organized by the zone.)
  • Full evaluations are required for:
  • Training record
  • Written
  • Diagnostic

For patrollers with 2+ years sabbatical, the LOA guidelines will be used to determine the requalification process.

2020-2021 Training Season