Field activities

Note: information on this page is subject to change and is current only as of this date: July 20, 2021

The following information is provided as guidance to units, instructors and researchers in the planning of field activities now that the university has transitioned from specialized COVID-19 safe work plans (SWPs) to a campus-wide UVic Communicable Disease (CD) Plan as part of Step 3 in the BC Restart Plan.  Such activities include field schools and trips related to academic programs, field research, and off-campus in-person community research involving human participants. 

During the transitional summer months and extending into the fall, field activity leads will be asked to respond with their plans for the following safety considerations:

OHSE and Risk Management will continue to jointly support and assist units and researchers with the safety planning process during this transitional period, recognizing that program development for field safety and travel risk management will continue to be developed later in the fall to ensure compliance with WorkSafeBC and our commitments through the Bamfield Recommendations. This program development will include consultation with researchers and units who are engaged in field activities and travel, including the Office of Research Services (Human Research Ethics) and Global Engagement.

Criteria for field safety plans

Field Safety Plans are required for:

  • research fieldwork or field schools/trips, carried out by faculty, staff or students in the natural environment or community, away from the normal support networks of the university.   
  • remote off-campus activities carried out in a location where it is difficult to summon help, and is separated by significant time or distance from emergency or medical assistance. Examples include: working more than 10km from a facility with telephone or radio communications; emergency or medical assistance is more than 1 hour away; or areas with limited traffic, open waters, dense vegetation, and/or other topographic features, which makes it difficult to obtain assistance.

Note: there may be circumstances where a field safety plan is not required if the nature of the trip, its activities or the travel does not introduce elevated risks.  Please contact or for guidance.

For those field activities requiring a Field Safety Plan, please follow the processes noted below in each of the areas:

Field research

  • If applicable, complete the Special Authorization form for any research involving students travelling internationally
  • Ensure all field researchers review, understand and follow the ongoing prevention measures in the UVic CD Plan
  • Complete the Field Safety Plan 
  • Submit your completed plan to  for joint review by OHSE and Risk Management, prior to approval
  • Chair/Director recommendation to Dean for approval of Field Safety Plan
  • Dean approval of the Field Safety Plan
  • Submit signed and approved Field Safety Plan to  for central record-keeping

Off-campus in-person community research

  • If applicable, complete the Special Authorization form for any research involving students travelling internationally
  • Note: the following processes can be undertaken concurrently:
    • Complete the Human Research Ethics (HREB) application/amendment process following current instructions if research is being conducted with human participants
    • Ensure all researchers review, understand and follow the ongoing prevention measures in the UVic CD Plan
    • Complete the Field Safety Plan
    • Submit your completed plan to  for joint review by OHSE and Risk Management, prior to approval
    • Chair/Director recommendation to Dean for approval of Field Safety Plan
    • Dean approval of the Field Safety Plan
    • Submit signed and approved Field Safety Plan to  for central record-keeping

Field schools/trips related to academic programs

  • If applicable, complete the Special Authorization form for any field schools/trips involving students travelling internationally
  • Ensure all field participants review, understand and follow the ongoing prevention measures in the UVic CD Plan
  • Complete the Field Safety Plan 
  • Submit your completed plan to  for joint review by OHSE and Risk Management, prior to approval
  • Chair/Director recommendatoin to Dean for approval of Field Safety Plan
  • Dean approval of the Field Safety Plan
  • Submit signed and approved Field Safety Plan to  for central record-keeping