The Outdoor Council of Canada

The Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) is a nationally incorporated, non-profit, member-owned organization. The OCC was founded to encourage, promote, and facilitate safety-oriented outdoor education and recreation programs, along with leadership opportunities, which are accessible to every Canadian.

Our adventure guide training is based on the national course standards developed by the OCC. Guides who successfully complete our training program are eligible for certification with the OCC as Field Leaders. This certification is one of the options generally accepted by land-use managers in Alberta.

The information included in our training goes beyond the requirements for the certifications. Some content has been adapted from the OCC for the context of the adventure guide and to align the language with industry practices. Participants taking part in our programs that include the Field Leaders certification will also receive the relevant training manuals provided by the OCC.

Field Leaders Certifications

A flexible program based on the principle of high-quality low-risk programming, providing the essential knowledge needed to lead quality outdoor events. Certifications are available for hiking, paddling, winter and overnight events.

The Event Cycle

The Outdoor Council of Canada approach is based on the event cycle:

  • Outdoor leadership starts with a proper event plan. That plan is the basis for the actual event happening.
  • The event provides us with the information used in the debriefing.
  • The debrief provides guidance for future events, influencing future event planning.

You can find out more about the Outdoor Council of Canada at

Principles of High-Quality Low-Risk Programming

These are the principles that are used throughout the Field Leaders program.

Mindful Leadership: The successful leader is mindful of their personality and motivations and how they can affect their leadership performance. They use strategies to reconcile their personal interests with those of their participants so as to maximize their service of the group today and improve their mastery over time.

Participant-Centred Experiences: Throughout the event cycle the leader actively seeks to be aware of the physical and psycho-social state of their participants and modifies their leadership as appropriate.

Purposeful Programming: Every program should have clear objectives. That purpose is delivered to the highest quality by careful matching of the participants to the learning/experiential outcomes and the resources available.

Systematic Planning: Tools are provided to assist with planning that honours the themes of the Field Leaders program.

Collaborating: Team building with participants, co-leaders, the organization, and other stakeholders maximizes the ability to deliver quality and safety.

Communication: Two-way verbal and non-verbal communication practiced in a climate of dialogue, empathy, and compromise is an essential component of successfully actualizing the other activities required for superior leadership.

Learning Through Reflection: Personal and organizational debriefing practices maximize learning and continual improvement in the delivery of quality and safety.

The success of the individual leader is highly dependent on the cultural environment in which they work. Ideally, that environment embodies the values and supports the processes listed above.