Quality Standards

Quality standards are comprised of the specifications required to meet a base level of quality as measured against other similar organizations. In an increasingly data-driven world, we strive to ensure that our members and stakeholders have the information and tools that they need to continue enhancing the quality of their programs and services. Read more about our quality standards programs and projects below.





We believe that every child deserves quality experiences that support healthy child development. Created in 2001, HIGH FIVE is Canada’s only comprehensive quality standard for children’s programs. HIGH FIVE's proprietary approach is built on a quality framework, consisting of:

Training and development for recreation staff working with children and older adults.
Performance measurement and assessment using our scientifically validated tool.
Establishing policies and procedures to manage risk 
Raising awareness of the benefits of high-quality programs

HIGH FIVE training is based on research that identifies 5 principles of healthy development including a caring leader, the opportunity to play, make friends,  masters skills, and participate. HIGH FIVE for children's programs has been implemented across the country. Since its formation, over 1 million children have had quality experiences in programs using HIGH FIVE. 

In 2018, Parks and Recreation Ontario launched HIGH FIVE for Older Adults: Principles of Healthy Aging as a framework for older adult recreation based on the current HIGH FIVE national industry standard for children. 


Yardstick Benchmarking

Yardstick is a suite of benchmarking tools for recreation facilities and parks that deliver "need to know" information to establish and maintain quality services. It is comprised of two separate projects for parks and facilities:

  1. The Benchmarks project reports on a wide range of information to identify asset provision, costs, service delivery, strategic planning, and asset management best practices. 
  2. The Survey project identifies what is important to your user and how well you are meeting their expectations to facilitate the identification of service level gaps.
This program allows you to collect, share, and compare vital information so you can measure current performance and target future improvements.

Play Works

Play is transformative. It has the power to strengthen communities, contribute to lower crime rates, and aid in health and welfare. Play Works is a group of organizations concerned about the disappearance of play for youth in Ontario and is dedicated to raising awareness for the importance of play both publicly and politically.