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Risk in Canada's Higher Education Landscape


Marsh Canada is pleased to provide its first Higher Education Risk Management Survey results. It is our hope that these results serve as a useful reference tool in the assessment of the unique risk management needs of Canada’s universities and colleges, and how these needs are ultimately addressed.

As the requirement for effective risk management grows across the higher education sector, so does the need to understand what the risks are—including which are perceived as major areas of concern. Also helpful is an understanding of the manner in which these risks are being treated by fellow institutions. Accordingly, the 2 focal points of the report include a survey of risks, and a survey of the state of risk management processes at higher education institutions.

Marsh chose to survey both community colleges and universities because, from the perspective of activity and budget, many community colleges have recently become as large or larger than certain universities. Correspondingly, the risk management issues of community colleges are often as large as universities, but perhaps not as well-understood. Indeed, a high number of colleges identify themselves as underdeveloped in their level of risk management maturity, but at least indicate an awareness of the need to take action.

Interestingly, only 3 of the 7 top risks identified are insurable, illustrating once again that risk management must go beyond the purchase of insurance in order to be effective.

Overall, the response rate to the survey was high, and we are grateful to all respondents and to the Canadian University Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (CURIE), and to the Colleges Ontario Insurance Committee of the Administrative Services Coordination Committee (ASCC) for both their endorsements and support.

We welcome any feedback and hope that this is the first of many surveys of risk management in the field of Canadian higher education.