Group Management

As interpretive hiking guides, we are responsible for the safety and well-being of the people we are guiding on park trails.

Group Management Courses offered by the IGA:

III Season (Spring/Summer/Fall) Group Management $250 plus GST

IV Season (Winter) Group Management  $375 plus GST

The IGA GM courses cover legal liability, client care, client management throughout the seasons, pacing, understanding and managing risk, understanding the environment you are guiding in and trip preparation, to ensure the experience you provide for your guests is safe, comfortable and sets the required foundation for inspirational interpretation!

This course does not teach map and compass skills and it is important that you come to the course with a minimum understanding of how to use a compass while on trail.

**The IGA does also teach map and compass courses, please email us at courses@interpretiveguides.org for more information.

A GM certification (or equivalent course deemed by Parks Canada) is required if you want to guide hikes on trails in the Provincial and National Mountain Parks.

This course is taught in English, French, and Japanese every spring, fall and winter.

Prerequisites for the Group Management Course

It is expected that individuals taking our GM course will:

  1. Be eighteen years of age or older.

  2. Have, a minimum, standard first aid and CPR level ‘C’ for the III Season course and minimum 40 hour wilderness first aid for the IV Season (winter) certification. It is strongly advised that students planning to guide hiking trips in any season have at least a Wilderness First Aid course of 40hrs.

  3. Have completed the IGA Apprentice or Professional Interpreter course.

  4. Have a minimum of 5 days hiking experience (III Season Course) and 10 days of hiking experience (min 5 days in winter) for the IV Season Course plus an interest in leading groups on established trails. (See below for more details on recognised hiking experience and Scoop of Practice.

  5. Be competent with basic navigation skills.You should know the following:

a. Identify different features on a topographical map (rivers, lakes, buildings etc).

b. Identify and relate contour lines from the map to the terrain you are hiking on.

c. Determine elevation loss and gain from contour lines on a map.

d. Measure the length of a trail in meters or kilometres.

e. Give a map reference using UTM grid to show your location.

f. Take a simple compass bearing, i.e., to determine direction of a trail in poor visibility.

g. Determine the cardinal directions of the compass at any time and orientate the map to the ground.

The proficiency of participants with the above skills will be assessed at various stages in the course but these items will not be taught. Course registrants not familiar with navigation should find books or other courses to help them learn this important skill.

Equivalencies Any applications for equivalencies must go directly to Parks Canada.

In Banff, Yoho &; Kootenay, contact Indra Jasinsky at Indra.Jasinsky@pc.gc.ca. In Jasper, contact Kelly Deagle: kelly.deagle@pc.gc.ca

Scope of Practice for IGA Interpretive Hiking Guides 2019

III Season (Spring/Summer/Fall), Group Management (GM) Course. This certificate covers three seasons of the year but will henceforth be referred to as the “III Season (summer), Group Management course.”

1.1 PRE-REQUISITES – IGA Group Management Course (III Season-Spring/Summer/Fall)

To be accepted in the IGA Group Management III Seasons Course you should:

  • Be eighteen years of age or older
  • Have completed 5 day-long hikes on local trails (for information on this, see appendix I)
  • Have a valid 16 -hour wilderness first aid, with level C CPR certificate

 1.2 REQUISITES – to be recognized as an III Season (Spring/Summer/Fall) IGA Hiking Guide

To be recognized as a III Season Interpretive Guides Association Hiking Guide you should have:

  • An IGA Apprentice Interpretive Certificate or higher
  • An IGA III Season Group Management Certificate
  • A valid 16-hour standard first aid, with level C CPR certificate

 1.3 SCOPE OF PRACTICE (SOP) – III Season IGA Hiking Guide

In Canada, the frame under which you practice your work is called Scope Of Practice “SOP”. The SOP covers theprocesses, procedures and actions under which you practice your guiding work, as well as what kind of terrain and conditions you are allowed to guide.

 Your III Season Scope Of Practice “SOP” is limited to day long hikes on well-established trails recognised by the land manager(s), over simple terrain Class 1 or lesser, in simple conditions, in spring, summer and/or fall.

For the purpose of this III Season certification,

  • “Day Long Hikes” is understood as up to 8-hour period.
  • “Well Established Trails” are understood as trails recognised by land managers.
  • Simple Terrain Class 1 is understood as terrain classified inside Class Terrain Rating System “Class 1” or lesser.
  • “Simple Conditions” means that you don’t require the use of technical gear to ensure the safety of your guest, snow is not present, and it is not considered winter.

The guide and group should be able to exit any remote area within four hours returning to an accessible road (accessible by vehicle) or refuge (hotel, lodge, and hostel).

RESTRICTIONS– The guide must ensure that they do not lead in areas that are prone to Alpine hazards examples of this are;

  • Extensive rock fall hazards
  • Icefall
  • Snow Avalanches
  • Glaciers travel, or travel on permanent snow cover that is above seasonal expectations for this period on slopes above 15°.

The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), a leading authority in the guiding industry, has set the following guideline for hiking guides. Class 1 terrain is as follows (et al ACMG website Hiking Guide SOP)

1stclass;

  • Terrain; low angled rock, snow or ice
  • Movement; walking
  • Fall possibility; none
  • Exposure/consequences; no exposure; may include a minimal chance of injury if a stumble occurs.
  • Guiding techniques; coaching
  • Examples;

Most well-used hiking trails

Easy off-trail travel such as along a creek or flat snow (winter only)

 This course does not certify you to guide across bodies of moving, or frozen water. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks. Movement around coastal shorelines is also hazardous due to the timings of tides and rapid rise, and fall, of water levels; this course does not certify you to lead in tidal zones.

The three-season summer course qualification does not cover camping skills and it is expected that the guide and group will return to the trail-head at the end of the day. In an emergency, it would be reasonable to assume a group could be caught out overnight, so all guides should be prepared for and plan for this eventuality by carrying suitable equipment.

This course does not cover movement on trails covered in more permanent (seasonal) snow or ice, these skills are taught on the IV Season Group management Winter Course. The III season certified guide should make all reasonable attempts to avoid snow or ice covered trails, or terrain.

IV Season (Winter) Group Management Course (GM). This certificate allows a guide to lead groups all year long in all seasons while staying within the SOP guidelines of both III and IV season.

1.1 PRE-REQUISITES – IGA Group Management (IV Season-Winter) Course

To be accepted in the IGA Group Management IV Seasons (Winter) Course you should have:

  • An IGA Apprentice Interpreter Certificate or higher.
  • Be eighteen years of age or older
  • Have completed 5 day-long hikes on local trails in Spring/Summer and/or Fall on local trails (see appendix I)
  • Have completed 5 full day-long hike/snowshoeing activities in winter on local trails (see appendix I)
  • A valid 40-hour wilderness first aid, plus level C CPR certificate or higher.

1.2 REQUISITES – to be recognized as an IV Season (Winter) IGA Hiking Guide

To be recognized as a IGA Hiking Guide in all IV Seasons (Winter, Fall, Summer and Spring) you should have:

  • IGA Apprentice Interpretive Certificate or higher
  • IGA Group Management IV Season Certificate or higher
  • A valid 40-hour wilderness first aid, level C CPR certificate or higher

 1.3 SCOPE OF PRACTICE (SOP) – IV Season (Winter) Interpretive Guide

In Canada, the frame under which you practice your work is called Scope Of Practice “SOP”. The SOP covers the processes, procedures and actions under which you practice your guiding work, as well as what kind of terrain and conditions you are allowed to guide.

Your IV Season (Winter) Scope Of Practice “SOP” is limited to day long hikes/snowshoeingon well-established trails recognised by the land manager(s) over simple terrain Class 1 or lesser, simple conditions and inside Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale ATES “Class 1 – Simple” or less.

 RESTRICTIONS This course does not certify you to guide across bodies of moving, or frozen water. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks. Movement around coastal shorelines is also hazardous due to the timings of tides and rapid rise and fall of water levels; this course does not certify you to guide in tidal zones.

The four-season winter course qualification does not cover camping skills and it is expected that the guide and group will return to the trail-head at the end of the day. In an emergency, it would be reasonable to assume a group could be caught out overnight, so all guides should be prepared for and plan for this eventuality by carrying suitable equipment.

 For the purpose of this IV Season (Winter) certification,

  • “Day Long Hikes” is understood as up to 8-hour period.
  • “Well Established Trails” are understood as recognised trails designated by land manager(s).
  • Simple Terrain Class 1 is understood as terrain classified inside Class Terrain Rating System “Class 1” or lesser.
  • “Simple Conditions” means that you don’t require the use of technical gear to ensure the safety of your guest and ATES “Class 1 – Simple” is understood as terrain classified inside Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale ATES “Class 1 – Simple” or less.

The guide and group should be able to exit any remote area within four hours returning to an accessible road (accessible by vehicle) or refuge (hotel, lodge, and hostel).

RESTRICTIONS– The guide must ensure that they do not lead in areas that are prone to Alpine hazards examples of this are;

  • Extensive rock fall hazards
  • Icefall
  • Snow Avalanches
  • Glaciers travel

The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), a leading authority in the guiding industry, has set the following guideline for hiking guides. Class 1 terrain is as follows (et al ACMG website Hiking Guide SOP)

1stclass;

  • Terrain; low angled rock, snow or ice
  • Movement; walking
  • Fall possibility; none
  • Exposure/consequences; no exposure; may include a minimal chance of injury if a stumble occurs.
  • Guiding techniques; coaching
  • Examples;

Most well-used hiking trails

Easy off-trail travel such as along a creek or flat snow

MAINTAINING CERTIFICATION To maintain your III Season and IV Season certification from year to year, the IGA requires that you pay the associations yearly membership fees and complete a minimum of 10 hours of professional development. You are also required to hold a valid First Aid certification according to your guide level (i.e. 16-hour Standard First Aid for an IGA III Season (Spring, Summer, Fall) GM Certification and a 40-hour AWRFA for a IV Season (Winter) certification).

If your certification is not maintained as required above, it will be considered not in good standing and therefore not valid. Please visit the members section of the website for more information.

Licensing and Permits Guided parties utilise parks and other managed regions where licenses and permits may be required. As land use in remote areas becomes more concentrated, it is the responsibility of the guide to ensure that they have the right to commercial activity in the area. The guide must be pro-active to secure proper licensing and permits for the areas in which they are operating to maintain access. Failure to comply with management issues and regulations might jeopardise the availability of these lands to other guides in the future.

Liability Insurance Guiding access is often dependent on proof of liability insurance. Only with a professional practice can a guide ensure affordable, reliable, and secure insurance coverage. Contact the IGA for Liability insurance information and contacts for rate quotes.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Please read our Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for this course. If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

If you are sick on one or more days of the course you must prove your sickness (i.e. a doctors note) and get in touch with the instructor immediately. We will place you in an alternate course if we have space available, otherwise you will need to re-register and pay.

If the Interpretive Guides Association has to cancel a course due to low numbers, you will have the choice of being given a full refund or transferring your registration for another course.