1. MISSION STATEMENT
The International Polar Guides Association (IPGA) is a Corporation Without Share (not-for-profit) worldwide body founded by active polar guides to facilitate the development and preservation of high quality professional guiding in polar-ice environments.
IPGA is administered by its members and employees. All operational procedures including selection and function of the board and its committees, endorsement procedures, guide assessment and registration, formulation of skills and common practice guidelines, are roles undertaken by IPGA members. Legal, accounting, taxation, insurance, web and other business services may be outsourced to private-sector companies.
3. IPGA ADMINISTRATION
IPGA was registered as a ‘Corporation Without Share’ in Ottawa, Canada in February 2011.
IPGA will abide by the administration By-Laws as outlined in the By-Law document signed during incorporation.
Board of Directors (BD)
The Board of Directors is comprised of between seven and ten IPGA members and must comprise of at least 75% Master Polar Guides. The Board of Directors can make changes to the IPGA constitution and charter but can only do so with a two thirds majority vote from board members. This includes amendments to the Charter, criteria for selection of sub-committees and boards and website content. All actions performed by committees must be approved by the Board. The BD is also responsible for financial and legal aspects of IPGA.
The President will act as spokesperson for IPGA and Chair in the event a Chair is not elected.
Assessment and Registration Committee (ARC)
The Assessment and Registration Committee is comprised of a minimum of four IPGA directors. The role of the ARC is to accept, collate and assess applications, award endorsements and registration to guides and to administer memberships. The ARC is responsible for the accuracy of IPGA’s guide database and will review guide data annually. With the approval of the BD, the ARC can de-register a guide for failure to pay dues, failure to submit current skills certificates or poor conduct.
ARC members may also be BD and SPC members.
Where ARC members are unavailable for expeditious processing of applications, non-ARC members may stand in to assist with processing.
Skills and Practices Committee (SPC)
The Skills and Practices Committee is comprised of four IPGA members selected by the Board of Directors. The SPC formulates, reviews and updates IPGA-recommended ‘Common-Practice Skills and Practices for Polar Guides’. Skills and common practices are those that are recognised by the SPC as the safest and most efficient and widely-used practices amongst the polar guiding community. The SPC must be receptive and responsive to the evolution of equipment and changes in the polar environment, particularly the Arctic Ocean. Where multiple techniques can be applied to an activity it is the task of the SPC to impartially recommend skills and practices that reflect the validity of each technique. Where less-common scenarios and skills are recognised, it is the task of the SPC to robustly research the validity, safety and efficiency of these skills and practices before recommending them as safe procedures.
‘Common-Practice Skills and Practices for Polar Guides’ recommendations are reviewed periodically by the SPC.
SPC members may also be BD and ARC members.
4. ROLE OF IPGA
IPGA provides support to the polar guiding community and regulates the quality of polar guiding by:
5. IPGA CHARTER
The IPGA charter was ratified by a Steering Committee on June 29, 2010. The Steering Committee comprised Annie Aggens (USA), Victor Boyarsky (RUS), Alan Chambers (UK), Christoph Höbenreich (AUT), Alain Hubert (BEL), Matty McNair (CAN), José Naranjo (ESP), Børge Ousland (NOR), Eric Philips (AUS), Richard Weber (CAN).
It was the intention of the Steering Committee to create a simple charter that reflects the unique, specialised and niche nature of professional polar guiding.
Charter statutes can only be amended by the Board of Directors.
6. REGIONS OF OPERATION
A Polar Guide is able to guide in any land-ice polar environment where surface travel is the primary mode, and mountaineering skills are transitory in nature. Polar Guides typically, but not exclusively, operate in Antarctica/South Pole, in Greenland and other terrestrial Arctic locations. A Polar Guide is not endorsed to guide on sea-ice.
A Master Polar Guide is able to guide in any polar environment where surface travel is the primary mode, and mountaineering skills are transitory in nature. Master Polar Guides typically, but not exclusively, operate on the Arctic Ocean/North Pole, in Antarctica/South Pole, in Greenland and other Arctic locations. A Master Polar Guide is endorsed to guide on land-ice and sea-ice.
IPGA does not endorse guides that operate in environments where ice is secondary to other mediums, such as open water or mountains.
7. SERVICE QUALITY
An IPGA guide possesses a range of outstanding qualities and is able to perform a host of skills in a professional manner, including:
8. IPGA POLAR GUIDE ENDORSEMENT
IPGA awards two levels of endorsement to polar guides: Polar Guide (land-ice endorsement) and Master Polar Guide (land-ice and sea-ice endorsement). The generic term for all endorsed guides is ‘Polar Guide’.
An IPGA endorsement constitutes a recommendation to the global community that the endorsee is approved by IPGA to guide professionally in the polar regions as outlined above, is highly skilled, and is able to manage and lead all aspects of an extended polar expedition.
An IPGA endorsement is valid if:
IPGA awards endorsements at its own discretion. IPGA does not endorse business entities, only individuals.
9. ENDORSEMENT CRITERIA
IPGA does not provide an examination process and therefore does not issue certification to polar guides. IPGA determines a guide’s competence through an application assessment process and awards endorsements based on these assessments.
To become an IPGA-endorsed guide, an applicant must submit an application form, together with an application fee. The applicant must have significant and verifiable polar expeditioning experience, summarised in the application.
A. Polar Guide
The applicant must:
B. Master Polar Guide
The applicant must:
Once the applicant has been endorsed by IPGA a registration fee is payable followed by an annual IPGA membership fee.
For every board member that declines an application, an additional approval is required. For example if 5 members approve an application yet one declines, a 6th approval is required.
An application for endorsement is declined when 5 members of the board determine that the applicant does not meet the necessary criteria for endorsement.
10. ENDORSEMENT PROCESS
A number of processes must occur in order for an applicant to become an IPGA-endorsed guide.
a. Submit an application to the Assessment and Registration Committee, including:
b. Application assessed and approved by three members of ARC and two members of either the remaining BD or SPC.
c. Application reviewed by Board of Directors
d. Application approved, endorsement level awarded, guide listed as Polar Guide or Master Polar Guide.
e. Guide receives certificate, badges and ID card, may display IPGA logo
f. Payment of annual IPGA registration fee
g. Annual review of guide membership and polar guiding activity, payment of annual membership fee and insertion of annual membership renewal receipt on the ID card.
11. ENDORSEMENT UPGRADE
On gaining the required additional criteria, an IPGA Polar Guide may apply for an upgrade to Master Polar Guide at any time by completing and submitting an Endorsement Upgrade Form. There are no additional fees for applying for or being awarded an endorsement upgrade.
Upgrade applications are assessed and approved by three members of ARC and two members of either the remaining BD or SPC.
Applicants and/or endorsed guides must complete and sign a liability release indemnifying IPGA from any liability, including any brought against the guide by a client or clients.
13. DE-REGISTRATION OF A POLAR GUIDE
An IPGA Polar Guide of either level can be de-registered and stripped of their endorsement if he/she:
De-registration of a guide can only occur with 3 votes of no-confidence from the ARC and 2 votes of no-confidence from the remaining BD.
A registered IPGA guide that has not guided for 5 years will retain his/her endorsement but will be listed as 'Inactive'. Should an Inactive Guide intend to resume their active endorsement he/she must provide evidence to the ARC of a resumption of active guiding. The ARC will reinstate a guides endorsement at its own discretion.
14. HONORARY MEMBERSHIP
At it’s own discretion, IPGA may award Honorary Memberships to retired guides. Honorary members have shown commitment and professionalism during a lasting career guiding on both land-ice and sea-ice and are recognised among the majority of board members as having contributed meaningful and broadly-respected service to the field of polar guiding. Honorary members:
Should an Honorary Member resume active recurrent guiding, their Honorary Membership will be revoked and they must apply/re-apply for endorsement and are subject to standard fees.
€25 Application Fee.
Payable on submission of application. The Application Fee covers:
If a guide’s application for endorsement is unsuccessful, the application fee will be rolled over for a period of 12 months after which it is repayable on re-application.
€55 Registration Fee plus pro rata of €10 per calendar month until September
Payable on award of endorsement. The one-off Registration Fee covers:
€110 Membership Fee.
Payable January 31 annually. The Membership Fee covers:
16. WEBSITE AND DATABASE
The default IPGA domain name is www.polarguides.org. IPGA also owns www.polarguides.com and should maintain this ownership. The IPGA website is the primary portal for the dissemination of IPGA information. This includes:
All content must be reviewed and approved by three members of the BD.
With instruction from the Board of Directors, the website manager is tasked with adding, amending or removing content from the website and for registration of the domain names.
Online guide listings will be reviewed and updated when annual membership is paid.
17. IPGA LOGO
The IPGA logo is the emblem by which IPGA and its endorsed guides are recognised. Only registered and endorsed polar guides may use the emblem and only to advertise their personal endorsement as a polar guide and membership of IPGA. Companies, corporations or other business entities may not use the logo in a way that construes the business entity as being endorsed by IPGA. A business entity may only display the IPGA logo if it employs an endorsed and registered guide(s). Any IPGA logos displayed on a website must be linked to www.polarguides.com or to the guide’s resumé. The logo may be used in colour or greyscale. The logo may not be altered, including changes to colour, shape, typeface and content. Only the size may be altered so long as original logo proportions remain the same.
Refer to document, Use of IPGA Logo.
18. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
IPGA promotes environmental responsibility amongst all visitors to the polar environment. IPGA polar guides must endeavour to reduce their impact and that of their clients on the environment, including: