Risk Management: Remote EL with an industry or community partner

Course-embedded consulting activities, industry research, work placements, or any variety of experiential learning with a partner can have potential risks.  Below are considerations that may help mitigate some of these risks.  You are strongly encouraged to contact the Insurance, Risk Management & FIPPA Officer before starting any new activity.


  • Are students prepared to successfully begin the experiential activity? See the resources under Preparing Your Students for tips.
  • Is the industry/community partner prepared to work with and/or supervise your students? Does the supervisor know how to mentor students? See the CEWIL resources Tips for Onboarding Students Remotely and Tips for Supervising Students Remotely that can be shared with placement partners.
  • Are there clearly defined roles and responsibilities for faculty, students, and partners? 
  • Is the scope of the work or project clearly defined? 
  • Have the roles, responsibilities, and scope been agreed to? Is there a written agreement?
  • Will the partner need any confidential student information?
  • Are students able to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the industry/community partner or client while working from home? As students may need to share spaces and/or equipment with others in their home, this may involve extra efforts for students such as designating a space for confidential conversations, coordinating schedules with others, using a headset, password protecting devices, and locking devices when not in use.
  • Are there any intellectual property concerns related to who owns the students’ work?


  • Will students be working with equipment, whether provided by the partner, the university, or the student, that might require safety training?  How will the training be provided and documented?
  • If students will be required to make phone calls to clients from their personal phones, do they know how to hide/block their number from being visible on caller ID in order to protect their privacy? Their phone carrier/provider’s website should include instructions for hiding or blocking caller information. Ask them to test it out with a friend beforehand. Keep in mind that some clients may not answer an unidentified caller and so options, such as set appointment times, may need to be considered.
  • Is a vulnerable sector check required? Are there any special considerations for obtaining a vulnerable sector check at this time? 
  • Has adequate supervision been arranged for whenever students are working with vulnerable populations (ex. counselling, tutoring)? This may mean that an advisor, supervisor, or child’s parent needs to be online with the student.
  • Are students aware that they are not to perform any work they consider unsafe and if they are asked to perform work they consider unsafe, they know to contact you or your designate right away?
  • If the student is paid, will they be covered by the employer's WSIB? If not or if they are unpaid, is there another insurance in place?  For help navigating this, visit the Unpaid Placement Insurance Process page and contact the University's Health and Safety office.
  • Is there a plan to deal with digital harassment and online bullying, should it occur?


  • Will there be networking opportunities for the student?
  • Is there a "buddy" assigned to the student who will be available to answer questions when the supervisor is not available?


What you need to know about Privacy and Confidentiality:

In accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), (1990), program administrators/faculty must:

  • ensure that proper acknowledgements are received from students before disclosing information to community partners or placement hosts, such as resume and contact information.  When requesting and gathering students’ information, be sure to explicitly inform students how the information will be used (ex. Your resume must be uploaded by Sept 4th to mySuccess and the coordinator will send your resume to potential workplace employers(s)).
  • ensure personal information is only accessible to those who need it.  Care should always be taken to protect personal information, especially if you are involved in human rights or workplace accommodation discussions.

Students (whether in paid or unpaid placements):

  • owe duties of loyalty and confidentiality to their placement hosts
  • may not, without the placement hosts’ consent:
    • disclose the placement host’s confidential information, or 
    • use the placement host’s confidential information to the student’s own advantage.
  • may be required to enter into a nondisclosure/confidentiality agreement.

These duties may continue even after the placement or project has ended. Keep these in mind when designing assigned reports, learning activities, reflections, etc. The information the student is permitted to share with faculty/staff may be affected by these.