Jon Heshka

Associate Professor
BSc, BA, BEd, MEd, LLM

Jon Heshka headshot 


Like a boomerang thrown into orbit, Jon Heshka has returned home to Adventure Studies after a four year term as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Law. Jon's trajectory to TRU has been a bit unorthodox. He has worked as a climbing guide, trained and coordinated search and rescue, managed risk and sales in the US with a European-based manufacturer of outdoor equipment, advised recreation programmes on their exposure to legal risk, and earned Master of Education and Master of Laws degrees specializing in adventure education and sports law respectively.

His eclectic background includes stints playing semi-pro volleyball in Brazil, driving a taxi in Lake Louise, and researching wolves in the Rockies. He has also climbed and led expeditions from Alaska to Argentina, Tajikistan to the Tetons, Europe, and many points in between. He trained and coordinated search and rescue for seven years for the Province of British Columbia with the Ministry of Attorney General / Justice Institute of BC and has performed mountain rescues above 15,000 feet on three continents. He has worked with Denali Mountain Rescue in Alaska and was a Canadian representative to the International Commission of Alpine Rescue. Jon guided with Outward Bound and Canada West Mountain School, instructed fall protection and rescue to a myriad of clients including Golden Gate Bridge, worked in senior management with Petzl America, and continues to consult on risk reduction strategies and tourism development to the public and private sectors.

He has been on the Tourism Kamloops Board of Directors and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association Board of Directors. Jon was also a member of the BC Recreation Trails Strategy Advisory Committee with the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts and the sports safety committee with the International Association of Sports Law.

Jon has played an active role in academic administration and governance which includes four years as Associate Dean of Law, and time as Vice-Chair of Senate (sitting alongside the university president who is Chair), Chair of TRU’s Educational Programs Committee, and have been an active member of (almost too) many committees to think about including TRU’s Academic Planning and Priorities Committee, the MBA Steering Committee, the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer’s New Associate Degree Development Committee, and many others.

He won the Governor General’s Academic Medal en route to earning degrees in zoology, political studies, education and law. His research interests and areas of expertise of specialization include sports law, the liability of adventure and extreme sport, regulation and risk management of extreme sport, outdoor pursuits risk management and ambush marketing.

Scholarship and Conferences

Jon has co-authored a university textbook entitled Managing Risk: Systems Planning for Outdoor Adventure Programs which represents the next generation of thinking about risk and adventure. He co-wrote a chapter on “The Legal Context for Outdoor Recreation” in Risk Management in the Outdoors published by Cambridge University Press and a chapter on “Legal Issues in Extreme Sport” in Extreme Sports Medicine published by Springer International Publishing AG. His 70+ articles have been published in several journals including International Sports Law Review and Sport and the Law Journal as well as eleven newspapers including The Globe and Mail and the Guardian, and two climbing magazines.

Jon has supervised two students who won the Travel and Tourism Research Association's (TTRA) National Gordon Taylor Future Researcher's Award, and supervised two students who were each awarded $5000 by TRU’s Comprehensive University Enhancement Fund for their Research Learning Courses. He was an associate editor with the International Journal of Sport and Society and has peer reviewed articles for journals such as the UBC Law Review, the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, the Journal of the Legal Aspects of Sport and the Lakehead Law Journal. He has also been interviewed or quoted more than 60 times in the media including CBC's the fifth estate, CBC Newsworld, Global News, the National Post, and The Vancouver Sun.

He has presented at more than 30 conferences worldwide including the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, Risk Management Conference for Outdoor Education in Canada, Tourism Educators Conference, World Association for Sport Management Conference, Sports & Recreation Law Association Conference, British Association for Sport and Law Conference, the US National Conference on Law and Higher Education, and the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education.

Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector, writing over 40 consultancy reports. They include co-authoring the 2003 Public Avalanche Safety Program Review for the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the 2019 Risk Assessment Review and Recommendations of RSTBC's Mountain Bike Risk Management for Recreation Sites and Trails BC and the 2021 Post-Critical Incident Management Plan for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He has also worked as an expert witness in Canada, the United States, and Europe in matters relating to adventure sport risk management. Jon has also consulted with many other clients including the Government of the Northwest Territories, US National Parks Service, and the Calgary Board of Education.

Jon teaches courses in business, marketing, law and risk management, mountain rescue, and sports law.

Other Highlights
  • Climbing Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Eiger in four-and-a-half days
  • “Stupidnicity” — cycling 1400 km in four days then running a marathon with Terry
  • Climbing in the Soviet Pamirs and South America with Mike
  • Competing at Ironman Canada and Ironman Coeur d'Alene with Dave
  • Backpacking in Yoho with Tegan and climbing in Yosemite with Brock
  1. Jackson, J. & Heshka J. (2021). Managing Risk- Systems Planning for Outdoor Adventure Programs. Algonquin Thompson Publishing, Ottawa, ON. 
  2. Jackson, J. & Heshka J. (2010). Managing Risk – Systems Planning for Outdoor Adventure Programs. Ottawa, DBI.
Book Chapters
  1. Heshka, J. (2021). The Law of Adventure Tourism (Chapter 7) in Hospitality and Tourism Law in Canada, Edmond Publishing, Toronto, ON. 
  2. Heshka, J. (2017) Therapeutic Use Exemptions in Sport. Steroids and Doping in Sports. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  3. Heshka, J. and Anderson J. (2017) Concussion, employers’ duties and the law: The U.K. & Ireland with comparative perspective from the U.S. and Canada. Sports Law Yearbook 2016/17. British Association for Sport and Law.
  4. Heshka, J. (2016). Legal Issues in Extreme Sport. In F. Feletti (Ed), Extreme Sports Medicine. Springer International Publishing AG
  5. Ainsworth, A & Heshka, J. (2011). The Legal Context for Outdoor Recreation. In T. Dickson & T. Gray (Eds.), Risk management in the outdoors: A whole of organization approach for education, sport and recreation. (43-68). Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
  1. Heshka, J. (2021). Sexual Assualt and Days of Reckoning in Sport. Sports Litigation Alert, January 2021, Vol. 18, Issue 1. 
  2. Heshka, J. (2020). Canadian Hockey League class action settlement on thin ice. November, 2020, Sports Litigation Alert, November 2020, Vol. 17, Issue 22. 
  3. Heshka, J. (2020). Waivers: Not worth the paper they're written on? The enforceability of waivers in adventure sport in British Columnia since 1980. Risk Research Synposium Proceedings, October 19, 2020. pp. 5-10. 
  4. Heshka, J. (2020). Former NFL linebacker sued for $15 million for tackling 16-year-old player. Concussion Litigation Reporter, October 2020, Vol. 9, No. 4
  5. Heshka, J. (2020). It's time for action on regulation climbing and hiking in the Rockies. Calgary Herald, 1 August 2020. 
  6. Heshka, J. (2020). Canadian Hockey League Hazing Class Action Lawsuit. Professional Sports the Law, July- August, Vol. 11, Issue 3. 
  7. Heshka, J. (2019). Soccer Player Sues Opponent, Associations over Concussion. Concussion Litigation Reporter, November 2019, Vol. 8, No. 6
  8. Heshka, J. (2019). Immovable Object vs Unstoppable Force: Concussions and the Fourteenth Amendment. Sports Litigation Alert, September 13, 2019 (reprinted in Legal Issues in High School Athletics, September-October 2019). 
  9. Heshka, J. (2019). Hard Row to How in Boxing Negligence Case: Hague v City of Edmonton, et al. Concussion Defense Reporter, Summer 2019.
  10. Heshka, J. (2018). CFL concussion case stopped at the goal line by the Supreme Court. Sports Litigation Alert, Vol. 15, Issue 8.
  11. Heshka, J. (2018). Examining the Legal Consequences of a Research Study that Shows CFL Players Hiding Concussion Symptoms. Professional Sports and the Law, 8 (6), 13. (reprinted in Sports Litigation Alert, Vol 15, Issue 3). 
  12. Heshka, J. and Jackson, J. (2017). Alpine sports danger has been taken too far. The Vancouver Sun, December 17, p. A13
  13. Heshka, J. (2017). Hockey Enforcer unsuccessful at District Court, Appeals to Seventh Circuit. Concussion Litigation Reporter, October 2017 Vol. 6 No. 4 (reprinted in Sports Litigation Alert, Vol. 14, Issue 19).
  14. Heshka, J. (2016). Benching head shots in the NHL. Winnipeg Free Press, December 20, A11.
  15. Heshka, J. (2016). Sport needs to do better on doping. Winnipeg Free Press, October 5, A7.
  16. Heshka, J. (2016). Hockey Fighter Derek Boogaard runs aground on §301 of the LMRA. Professional Sports and the Law, 6 (6), 5, 12.
  17. Heshka, J. (2015). The CFL, Concussions, and a $200 Million Court Case. LawNow, September/October 2015 (40-1)
  18. Heshka, J. (2015). Sports Law Expert Takes Closer Look at $200 Million CFL Concussion Lawsuit. Professional Sports and the Law, 6 (3), 1, 17-19.
  19. Heshka, J. and Jackson, J. (2015). The Roles of Experience, Participation Rates and Judgement in the Injury Rates of Weekend Warriors. Canadian Journal of Surgery, Can J Surg. 2015 Feb; 58(1): E1–E2.
  20. Heshka, J. (2014). A dangerous-offender designation for hockey. National Post, November 5, p. A12.
  21. Heshka, J. (2014). Former Canadian Football Player Has a Hard Road to Hoe in Concussion Lawsuit. Sports Litigation Alert, 11 (16).
  22. Heshka, J. (2014). Backstrom case: Code non-signatories at the Olympics.  World Sports Law Report, 12(3), 6-7.
  23. Heshka, J. (2014). NHL concussion lawsuit and lessons for contact sports.  World Sports Law Report, 12 (1), 11-13.
  24. Heshka, J. (2013). Children need play, not bubble wrap. The Vancouver Sun, December 4.
  25. Heshka, J. (2013). Canadian Football Player Sues University over Concussion. Sports Litigation Alert, 2, (5).
  26. Heshka, J. and Lines, K. (2013). A Proposed New Approach to Regulating Brain Injuries in Sport. International Journal of Sport and Society, 3(4), 141-152.
  27. Heshka, J. and Lines, K. (2013). Boogeyman’s Posthumous Distinction. Professional Sports and the Law, 10 (11).
  28. Heshka, J. (2013). Risk. The Avalanche Journal, 36.
  29. Lines, K. and Heshka, J. (2013). Doping: The thinking behind USADA’s ‘reasoned decision’: analysis. World Sports Law Report, 11 (1).
  30. Heshka, J. (2013). Risk is part of adventure experience. The Vancouver Sun, January 7, A11.
  31. Hackney, H. and Heshka, J. (2013). Deciphering the Drew Tate Concussion Controversy. Concussion Litigation Reporter, 1 (7).
  32. Heshka, J. (2012). Hockey Violence and the Long Arm of the Law. Sports Litigation Alert, 9 (22).
  33. Heshka, J. (2012). BC Government cancels $40 million stadium naming rights deal. Professional Sports and the Law, 3 (1), 19 (reprinted in Sports Litigation Alert, 9 (5)).
  34. Heshka, J. & Jackson, J. (2012) Sarah Burke: Real risk in extreme sports world. The Vancouver Sun, February 1, A15.
  35. Heshka, J. (2012). Brain Injuries: A shot across the NHL’s bow. LawNow, January/February 2012, 35-36.
  36. Heshka, J. (2011, November 10). Should what happens on the ice, stay on the ice? The Guardian.
  37. Lines, K. & Heshka J. (2011). Off duty: An analysis of Grimes v Hawkins. Solicitors Journal, 155(38), 14-15.
  38. Heshka, J. (2011). Risk and Responsibility. Gripped, 13(5), 28-29.
  39. Heshka, J. (2011). Battle of the beers: Labatt v. NHL and Molson Coors. Sports Litigation Alert, 8(19).
  40. Lines, K. & Heshka, J. (2011). Cross-disciplinary studies in sports and law. Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports, 2(3).
  41. Heshka. J. (2011, August 2). A (head) shot across the NHL’s bow? The Globe and Mail, p. A13.
  42. Heshka, J. (2011). Concussions are a Headache for the NHL and NFL. Sports Litigation Alert, 8(7).
  43. Heshka, J. (2011). Family Alleges Negligence after Man Dies on Zip-line. Sports Litigation Alert, 8(6).
  44. Heshka, J. (2011, March 6). Violence on the ice is getting out of control. Edmonton Journal, p. A13.
  45. Lines, K & Heshka, J. (2011). Bump in the Night [analysis of Barnes v. The Scout Association [2010] EWCA Civ 1476]. Solicitors Journal, 155(2), 8-9.
  46. Heshka J. & Lines K. (2010). Assessing the Competency of Sport to Regulate Technology. International Journal of Sport and Society 1(3), 1-14.
  47. Heshka, J. (2010, November 25). Kids should not be extreme adventurers. Cañada Valley Sun (LA Times newspaper).
  48. Lines, K. & Heshka J. (2010). Advertising: Ambush marketing: FIFA’s rights protection programme. World Sports Law Report, 8(8), 4-6.
  49. Heshka, J. (2010, June 19) University has punished the innocent. Waterloo Region Record, p. A15.
  50. Lines, K. & Heshka, J. (2010). A good sport: The ruling in Uren emphasises the courts’ determination to protect the freedom to choose whether to participate in sports with an acceptable level of risk. Solicitors Journal, 154(6), 13.
  51. Heshka, J. (2010, February 23). Why ski helmets alone don't prevent injuries. Windsor Star, p. A6.
  52. Heshka, J. (2010, February 10). Ski helmets alone aren't enough. Ottawa Citizen, p. A17.
  53. Heshka, J. (2010, February 1). Rules and Rogues – VANOC’s approach to ambush marketers may keep the lawyers happy but the strategy is backfiring. Marketing, p. 37.
  54. Heshka, J. (2009). The Criminality of Doping in Sport. International Sports Law Review Pandektis 8(1-2), 118-129.
  55. Lines, K. & Heshka J. (2009). Ski Jumping through Olympic-sized hoops: An analysis of Sagen v. Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. International Sports Law Review 4, 92-99.
  56. Heshka, J. & Lines K. (2009). Swimming - Credibility Crisis or Tempest in a Teapot? Assessing FINA's competency to regulate high-tech swimsuits. Sport and the Law Journal 16(3), 15-25.
  57. Lines, K. & Heshka J. (2009). Gridiron Spirit - Cheerleading is a Contact Sport Declares the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in Noffke v. Bakke 2009 WI 10. Entertainment & Sports Lawyer 27(1), 1-33-35.
  58. Heshka, J. (2009, July 7). Critical analysis: Has swimming got the balance right? British Association for Sport and Law.
  59. Heshka, J. (2009, April 1). High Cost of Chasing Powder. Kamloops Daily News, p. B1.
  60. Lines, K. & Heshka, J. (2009). Carbon Fibre, Artificial Altitude & Biomechanics: The Place of Technology in Lex Sportiva. Proceedings of the Socio-Legal Studies Association 2009 Conference.
  61. Heshka, J. (2009, January 27). Barbarity Rules NHL. The Province, p. A16.
  62. Heshka, J. (2009, January 11). From Fights to Bites: Hockey Violence is Out of Control. Winnipeg Free Press, p. A11.
  63. Lines, K. & Heshka J. (2008). Falling in Line with the Law – Should adults who are injured after deliberately putting themselves at risk expect to be compensated? New Law Journal, 1026-1027.
  64. Heshka, J. (October 2008). Law of the Land - Redefining Climbing Liability. Rock and Ice Magazine, 172, 22.
  65. Heshka, J. (2007). How Tort Law Operates in Recreation, Sports & Field Trip Environments - Volenti in Higher Outdoor Education. Proceedings of The 28th Annual National Conference on Law and Higher Education. Gulfport, Florida: Stetson University College of Law.
  66. Heshka, J., McLarty, S. & Statham G. (2007). Perspectives on the Standard of Care for Custodial Groups in Outdoor Pursuits. Proceedings of the 2007 Wilderness Risk Management Conference. Banff, AB: NOLS.
  67. Heshka, J. (2007). Assumption of Risk and Inherent Risk in Outdoor Education. Law Review Quarterly, 5-21.
  68. Heshka, J. (2006). Canada’s Legal Standard of Care for Outdoor Education. Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education 2005 Conference Proceedings, 221-242.
  69. Heshka, J. & Hood, R. (2006). Universities Collaborating with Communities. Proceedings from the Tourism Educators Conference. Victoria, BC.
  70. Hood, R. & Heshka, J. (2006). Tourism Students Consulting In The Community: Optimal Education Or Unrealistic Expectations? Conference Abstracts of the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Kamloops, BC: TRU.
  71. Heshka, J. (2006). Holding Strength of Climbing Ice Screws vs. Placement Angle. Thompson Rivers University Scholarly Activity Project Report, 44-47.
  72. Heshka, J. & Valade, G. (2004). Risk, Liability and Insurance of Nature-Based Tourism. Conference Summaries - Nature-Based Tourism. Ottawa, ON: Queen's Printer.
  73. Heshka, J. & Stewart-Patterson, I. (2004). Holding Strength of Ice Screws vs. Placement Angle. Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education, 8.
Selected Conference Presentations
  1. 'Government Funding and COVID-19 Assistance for North American Trampline Parks' International Association of Trampoline Parks, 8 December 2020.
  2. 'Waivers: Not worth the paper they're written on? The enforceability of waivers in adventure sport in British Columbia since 1980.' Risk Research Synposium- Wilderness Risk Management Conference, 19 October 2020. 
  3. 'Risk Communication and Reducing Our Exposure to Liability' 7th Annual International Association of Trampoline Parks Conference (New Orleans, LA). 2019
  4. 'Risk Communication and the Four Stages of Risk Management' Climbing Wall Association Conference (Loveland, CO). 2019. 
  5. 'Risk Communication in Trampoline Parks' 10th International Conference on Sport & Society (Ryerson University, Toronto, ON). 2019.
  6. 'Risk Management in Search and Rescue' (presented to SAR, RCMP, BCAS, BC Coroner's Service, Whistler-Blackcomb, heli-ski businesses, and guides in Whistler, BC). 2018. 
  7. 'A Systems-Based Approach to Risk Management at Trampoline Parks.' 6th Annual International Association of Trampoline Parks Conference (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). 2018. 
  8. 'The Risks and Falls of Trampoline Parks.' Sports & Recreation Law Association Conference (San Antonio, TX). 2018.
  9. ‘Does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to the adjudication of a doping dispute under Canada’s national anti-doping program?’ with Marshall Putnam. Tackling Doping in Sport 2017 Conference (London, England). 2017.
  10. ‘Too Fast, Too Furious – When should sports governing bodies be liable in negligence for the death of their athletes?’ with Kris Lines. Sports & Recreation Law Association Conference (Las Vegas, NV), 2017.
  11. ‘Risk, Negligence & Regulation in Extreme Sports.’ 2017 TRU Society of Law Students Conference (Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC), 2017.
  12. ‘Learned Hands or White Knuckles – Duty of Care in Extreme Sports’ with Kris Lines. Sports & Recreation Law Association Conference (New Orleans, LA). 2016.
  13. ‘Waivers.’ Alpine Club of Canada National Annual General Meeting (Banff, AB). 2015.
  14. Heshka, J. (2014). 'Risk Management and Liability in Competitive Extreme Mountain Sports.'  World Association for Sport Management Conference (Madrid, Spain).
  15. Heshka, J. (2014). 'Roam Right ... Navigating Outdoor Risk & the Legal System.'  Calgary Area Outdoor Council (Calgary, AB).
  16. Heshka, J. (2014).  'Concussions in Sports.' Body of Law: Is it time for a check-up? - 2014 TRU Society of Law Students Conference (Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC).
  17. Heshka, J. (2013). ‘Hockey, Concussions and the Law’ British Association for Sport and Law Conference (Leeds, UK).
  18. Heshka, J. (2012). ‘Risk Management and Liability in Competitive Extreme Mountain Sports’ Thinking Mountains 2012 – Interdisciplinary Mountain Studies Conference (University of Alberta, Edmonton).
  19. Heshka, J. (2012). ‘The concussion litigation crisis in American football’ British Association for Sport and Law Conference (Leicester, UK).
  20. Heshka, J. (2012). ‘Perspectives of risk in the outdoors - risk, adventure sports and the law’ British Mountaineering Council conference on risk, liability and outdoor adventure (Derbyshire, UK).
  21. Lines, K. and Heshka, J. (2012). ‘Regulating Violence in Violent Sports' Third International Conference on Sport and Society (Cambridge University, United Kingdom).
  22. DeMartini, A. & Heshka, J. (2012). Parkour across North America and university’s exposure to liability: Should schools be worried?’ 25th Annual Conference on Sport, Physical Activity, Recreation and Law (Greensboro, NC).
  23. Heshka, J. & Lines, K. (2011). Epidemic Levels of Sports Concussions Demands a Management Re-think. The 19th Conference of the European Association for Sport Management (Madrid, Spain).
  24. Lines, K. & Heshka, J. (2011). Technological Doping: Assessing the competency of sport to regulate technology. Tackling Doping in Sport 2011 Conference (London, UK).
  25. Lines, K. & Heshka, J. (2011). The Challenges of Regulating Technology in Winter Sport – Tilting the field of sport with technology. Winter Sports and Outdoor Life Conference (Telemark University College, Norway).
  26. Heshka, J. (2011). Risk Management – Systems Planning for Outdoor Recreation Programs. Western Canada Campus Recreation Conference 2011 (Kamloops, BC).
  27. Heshka, J. (2010). Technological Doping and Sport Integrity. British Association for Sport and Law Conference (Leicester, UK).
  28. Heshka, J. & Lines, K. (2010). Assessing the Competency of Sport to Regulate Technology. International Sport and Society Conference (Vancouver, BC).
  29. Heshka, J. (2008). Evolving Risk Management Practices in Canada. Wilderness Risk Management Conference (Jackson Hole, WY).
  30. Heshka, J. & Hoye, W.P. (2007). How Tort Law Operates in Recreation, Sports and Field Trip Environments. 28th Annual National Conference on Law and Higher Education (Clearwater Beach, FL).
  31. Heshka, J. (2007). Reflections on the Legal and Ethical Foundation of Outdoor Education. Risk Management Conference for Outdoor Education in Canada (Ottawa, ON).
  32. Heshka, J. (2007). Are Standards and Certification the Silver Bullet to Outdoor Education? Risk Management Conference for Outdoor Education in Canada (Ottawa, ON).
  33. Heshka, J., McLarty, S. & Statham, G. (2007). Perspectives on the Standard of Care for Custodial Groups in Outdoor Pursuits. Wilderness Risk Management Conference (Banff, AB).
  34. Heshka, J., Williamson, J. Cline, P. & Lee Tarter, S. (2005). Role of Standards, Certification & Accreditation in Outdoor Education. Wilderness Risk Management Conference (Snowbird, UT).
  35. Heshka, J. (2005). Canada’s Legal Standard of Care for Outdoor Education. Risk Management Conference for Outdoor Education in Canada (Ottawa, ON).
  36. Heshka, J. (2005). Canada's Outdoor Education Standards Dilemma. Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (Regina, SK).
  37. Heshka, J. & Valade, G. (2004). Risk, Liability and Insurance of Nature-Based Tourism. Eco-North 2004 (Thunder Bay, ON).