News for Homestay Coordinators and Managers Across North America / February 2020
A harrowing story about guns;
Vancouver workshop is this month

At last month's homestay staff workshop in Seattle, we heard a startling story about a homestay student who grabbed a gun and began wandering the streets - without his hosts knowing where he was. It prompted many questions about guns and homestays. Read on for details. 

The Vancouver Homestay Professional Development Workshop is this month! There are still some spaces available for the Feb. 27-28 workshop. We hope you can join us!

I received many requests for our Homestay Times publication, an annual compendium of all the stories from the past seven years. The booklet is now up to 55 pages and best of all it's free. The feedback from homestay staff has been terrific. If you have not already requested your free copy, simply send me an email and I will forward it to you. 

As always, please get in touch if you have any questions. 
(613) 888-9560     

There are still spaces left for Vancouver Homestay Workshop Feb. 27-28

The Vancouver 2020 Homestay Staff Professional Development Workshop is being held on Feb. 27-28. Here are just some of the topics we will be covering: 

  • Supporting and retaining hosts for the long term
  • Ensuring student mental health and identifying those at risk
  • Protecting your program with solid legal contracts
Take a look at the Preliminary Agenda. Visit the website for complete information. 

Risk Management
in International Education Workshop

International educators from across Canada are invited to attend this one-day workshop on Wednesday, April 29 in Vancouver. It will be facilitated by J ohn Boon, a practicing lawyer in BC who specializes in education, workplace and business law. 

Many homes have guns and homestay programs need to consider the risks
It started around midnight when the homestay student got into the host's liquor cabinet and began drinking vodka. The family's adult son was visiting for the weekend - he brought his licensed handgun but forgot the storage case. So he placed the weapon in his nightstand. Without the son knowing, the homestay student took the gun and went onto the streets at 2 am. 

A shot rang out - either the homestay student fired it deliberately or the gun went off accidentally. While the host family remained asleep, a neighbor heard the shot and called police. Officers arrived to find the drunken student carrying the gun and wandering down the middle of the road. Fortunately, they arrested him without incident - although the student could easily have been shot and killed by police. 

The homestay coordinator was jolted out of her sleep by a call from the police at 3 am. Eventually, the police decided not to charge the student. Instead, he was dismissed from the college and sent home on the next flight. 

This incident occurred in Washington State, but it could have been anywhere in North America. With guns posing safety risks, are homestay programs prepared? Some of the questions you need to ponder include: 

  • Do you allow people to host if they have guns in the home?
  • Do you ask potential hosts on the application form about guns in the household?
  • Do you ask how the guns are stored?
  • Do you inspect the gun storage during the home visit?
Guns are an important concern. In Canada, about 22 percent of households have a gun. The number is higher in the United States - 37 percent. So that represents a significant number of potential hosts who may have a weapon. 

Be sure to check your local regulations about gun possession and storage. In Canada, gun storage safety rules require that the gun:

  • Be rendered in operable by a secure locking device; or
  • Have the firing bolt removed; or
  • Be stored in a locked case or room

In addition, ammunition must be stored separately from the gun. In Canada, gun owners are required to pass a safety course and obtain a firearms licence. If you decide to allow gun owners to host, you could ask for a copy of their licence as part of the application process.  

Latest international

education career opportunities

Be sure to visit Canada's international education job board to see the most recent employment opportunities. These include: