Day Camps: What Are Counsellors Responsible for?

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Can day camp counsellors be held responsible if a child is injured while in their care? If there’s a lawsuit, what must be proven? 

Counsellors can be held responsible 

Day camp counsellors are temporarily responsible for educating and caring for children. This is because the parents of the children have temporarily delegated responsible to the counsellor.  

This legal concept is called the “delegation of parental authority”. 

Counsellors can be held responsible if a child under their care harms someone else, an animal, or any other property. This means that they could be asked to pay for any damages caused. It doesn’t matter if the child was at fault or not.  

 How can a counsellor prove that they shouldn’t be held responsible? 

If there’s a lawsuit, the counsellor will have to show that they acted like a reasonable and prudent counsellor would. This means not make any mistakes while caring for the child that most other counsellors would not make. 

For example, the counsellor could show that: 

  • they were not responsible for the child at the time of the damage 
  • the child’s actions were totally unforeseeable 
  • it was not possible to stop the child’s actions 
  • the damage was due to the inherent risk of the activity and that safety rules were followed