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Discover Ontario

From Boots to Paddles to Saddles, It’s Time to Get Outside, Ontario!

Rainbow over the lake outdoors
Rainbow over the lake outdoors

The Outdoor Council of Canada is committed to making the outdoors accessible to all Canadians through outdoor leadership training.

The Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) serves as the umbrella organization for the Canadian outdoor sector. The OCC addresses structural barriers hindering the ability of outdoor programs to reach their full impact. Outdoor activities can strengthen the people-nature connection, promote physical well-being, reinforce healthy living habits, and support community ties and sustainable economic growth.

Here at the OCC, we envision a Canada where everyone is given the opportunity to experience a deep connection with nature, discover a love for learning, and be active for life.

The benefits of outdoor leadership training

The Field Leader Program, the OCC’s signature outdoor leadership program, is a series of courses designed to prepare our graduates to plan and prepare their experiences in nature while looking after themselves, others, and the natural environment. The OCC firmly believes that learning to be a competent participant or effective outdoor leader requires direct experience and immersion in the outdoors. Therefore, each of our courses includes a significant amount of time spent in the field. Our courses provide training in foundational outdoor leadership skills and range in scope from 8 to 20 hours of instruction.

Participants begin their OCC leadership journey by taking one of the three foundational courses: Field Leader Hiking, Paddling, or Equine. Participants will be introduced to the OCC’s philosophy of participant-centred leadership and intentional programming where the needs, interests, and abilities of the participants guide the planning. The event cycle, which is also presented, is a structured series of steps to design, deliver, and align the outdoor experience with the organization’s priorities and purpose. Other course topics include identifying hazards and managing risks, dealing with unexpected situations, group management, situational awareness, and environmental responsibility.

Comprehensive learning opportunities

The Field Leader Winter and Field Leader Overnight courses extend a Field Leader Hiking, Paddling, or Equine leader’s certification to include all four seasons or multi-day trips.

Our two training (non-certification) courses, Get Outside Maps and Get Outside Compass, provide a comprehensive introduction to navigation. These technical skill courses focus on using maps and compasses for practical use in the back-country.

Those who already have extensive outdoor leadership experience can apply directly to take our Instructor course. Successful graduates will receive at least one OCC instructor license and may be licensed to teach additional Field Leader courses.

To learn more about the OCC, visit and to inquire about our Field Leader courses, please email program.coordinator

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