Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Behaviour Support and Management Introduction


The organization’s behaviour support and management policies and practices promote positive behaviour and protect the safety of service recipients and personnel.


Effective behaviour support and management practices center around preemptive interventions, such as identifying problem behaviours and working with the individual and their support systems to create practical solutions in order to minimize the need for restrictive interventions to the greatest extent possible. A culture that promotes respect, healing, and positive behaviour, and provides service recipients with the support they need to manage their own behaviours, can help prevent crisis situations and the need for restrictive interventions. Involving the individual and appropriate family members or support systems early on in identifying triggers and previous successes in coping with escalating behaviours creates a collaborative approach to behaviour support and management and helps provide personnel and the individual with early insight into aggressive, harassing, or self-injurious behaviours. Training prevents injuries and deaths in crisis situations, including those that warrant the use of restrictive interventions as a last resort. Organizations that maintain a process for reviewing incidents when they do occur have the opportunity to make changes in their practices to support the safest environment possible and further reduce the use of restrictive interventions.
Youth Custody Services


 Organizations serving youth involved with the youth custody system may be legally authorized to use restrictive interventions to prevent escapes, or protect property, in order and  to maintain safety, security, and order. However, they should still only employ restrictive interventions when absolutely necessary, as referenced throughout these standards.

Additionally, some organizations serving youth involved with the juvenile justice system and accredited under COA's Youth Custody Services (CA-YCS) standards may lock youth in their rooms for routine purposes (e.g., during sleep periods), as opposed to doing so in response to an incident. Although this practice does restrict a person's freedom of movement, it differs from the types of restrictive behavior management interventions addressed in this section insofar as it is utilized on a routine, ongoing, basis, rather than in response to a specific incident. Accordingly, this practice is addressed in CA-YCS 14, and the standards in this section do not apply to that practice.



NA The organization’s policy prohibits restrictive behaviour management interventions.
Note: Restrictive interventions are those that involuntarily restrict, limit, or curtail a person’s freedom of movement and include manual restraint, mechanical restraint, and seclusion. Federal guidelines consider any restriction of an individual’s movement a restrictive intervention. Related definitions can be found in COA’s glossary.

Timeout or isolation are colloquial terms that may or may not include restrictive interventions. For the purpose of these standards, any instance where an individual is placed in a room separate from others and they cannot voluntarily leave (whether the door is locked or personnel is preventing the individual from leaving) will be referred to as seclusion and considered a restrictive intervention.

Note: Organizations that work with populations with developmental delays and utilize protective clothing, such as protective helmets, will address those interventions in CA-PRG 5.02 and CA-PRG 6.03.

Note: Behaviour Support and Management (CA-BSM) will be NA when the policy referenced in CA-ASE 2 prohibits restrictive interventions.

Note: Please see the CA-BSM Reference List for the research that informed the development of these standards.

Note: For information about changes made in the 2020 edition, please see the BSM Crosswalk