Community Partners’ Insurance Program

On May 3, 2022, the Finance and Economic Development Committee received the City Solicitor’s Report (ACS2022-ICS-LEG-0003), outlining proposed changes to the City's Community Partners’ Insurance Program (CPIP). The proposed changes are intended to address the disparity between groups whose insurance premiums were funded by the City as a result of a 2001 Council decision to grandparent some groups based on pre-amalgamation criteria, and those groups that have come into being since amalgamation that are required to fund their own premiums. At the May 3 meeting, the Committee deferred the item to the May 25, 2022 Council meeting, so that staff could address additional questions regarding the proposed changes.


1. What types of agreements will satisfy the stipulation in the parameters for acceptance

that there be an agreement between the community group and the City? Why is this

requirement being imposed?


In answer to this question, it is important to understand the basis on which staff have proposed criteria with which all community groups seeking to obtain insurance at the City's expense must comply. The general framework for the City of Ottawa's new CPIP was established in the August


It is important "parameters for acceptance" be defined to ensure the City of Ottawa is

providing insurance coverage to Community Associations that have a direct shared

interest with the City of Ottawa, such as; receive funding to run a City program, or operate

on a regular basis from a City owned facility, or offer a program to the community in

partnership with the City. There are approximately 5,000 to 6,000 Community Groups

operating in the new City of Ottawa and without defined "parameters for acceptance" the

program will grow to an uncontrollable risk level and become an administrative burden.


This statement remains true today, with presumed further growth in the number of community groups since 2001. Staff are therefore proposing a return to those criteria as the qualifications for access to City-funded Commercial and General Liability insurance. While there may exist a wide variety of groups operating as not-for-profit corporations offering events and activities for the benefit of their members and the public (e.g. car clubs, sports teams, organized social clubs, etc.), the City does not have the financial nor the administrative capacity to provide complimentary insurance to all such groups. Furthermore, the possibility exists that the objectives or activities of some groups may not align to those of the municipality. The requirement that there be a formal agreement between the group and the City through which the group runs a City program, provides a program in partnership with the City or operates regularly out of a City facility, serves to ensure that the City is appropriately managing its risk exposure and promoting its own community programming interests in a fiscally prudent manner.


Examples of the types of agreements that qualify under the parameters of acceptance including but not limited to the following:

Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services

• Service Delivery Agreements

• Access Management Agreements

• Contribution Agreements


2. What about community organizations that hold individual events but that do not otherwise meet the parameters of acceptance noted above?


Community events held at City facilities, including City parks and related areas, may be eligible for insurance as part of the City's User Group Liability Insurance Program (LIP) managed through RCFS. Event-based insurance is available usually at a nominal cost, depending on such things as the number of participants, nature of the activities taking place, etc. Event organizers are required to pay the cost of this insurance, which is generally a requirement of the facility rental agreement unless the organizers are able to demonstrate that they otherwise have insurance available.


3. What about events held by community associations that do have a qualifying agreement and who are covered under the CPIP?


For associations which are covered by the CPIP, individual events will be assessed by the insurer on a case-by-case basis to ensure they fall under the eligibility of the program in terms of operations that are covered. Where the event identified by a community association falls outside the eligibility criteria of insurable operations under the Program, the community association may be denied coverage or be required to make adjustments to the planned activities to meet the insurer's eligibility requirements. This is at the sole discretion of the insurer.


4. Will community associations that don’t qualify for City-paid premiums under the revised parameters for acceptance still be able to access insurance, at their own cost, through the program?


Yes. Community Associations that hold events and activities - but not in partnership with the City of Ottawa - may still be able to access insurance at favourable rates through the CPIP insurer. Premiums for standard Commercial General Liability insurance coverage will depend on a range of factors, including the nature of the events/activities and the number of participants. An organization holding an event at a City facility, including in a City park, may also be able to obtain event-specific insurance through the City's insurer, at a modest cost.


5. What about outdoor rink operators?


The anticipated changes to the CPIP do not affect the City’s rink operators who have maintenance/supervision agreements with RCFS to operate rinks, and premium costs remain City-funded. Premium costs associated with the City’s outdoor rink operators have always been funded by the City, whether the association was in the grandparented ‘fixed’ or ‘open’ section of the CPIP. As noted in the report, since the 2021-2022 policy year, outdoor rink operators have been insured under the City’s integrated Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy and premium costs continue to be covered by the City. This change in programs was due to the fact that the 2021-2022 renewal year saw a significant premium increase of 108% for rink operators (which was a cost borne by the City and not at the operators’ expense). As a cost saving measure, this program was brought under the City’s integrated CGL policy. The coverage provided under this policy is equivalent if not better for operators as it offers higher limits of coverage. A schedule of rink operators is maintained by RCFS – Seasonal Recreation staff and provided to the City’s insurer each year.


6. What about community gardens?


The CPIP will continue to cover community gardens and provide City-funded CGL coverage, provided the applicant is a community garden operating under the Just Food “Community Garden Network (CGN)” Program. This Program functions as a resource sharing network supporting sustainable gardening across the city. Gardens that are part of this network must produce food and do not include pollinator or flower gardens.


7. What about organizations involved in winter trail maintenance?


The Urban Trails Alliance, responsible for distributing City and NCC funding to the groups for trail maintenance, did apply for coverage under the CPIP in 2020, but the insurer at the time declined to quote both CGL and Directors & Officers coverage, as insurers have not previously been prepared to extend coverage. Of the groups doing the trail maintenance, one is on the program and one is currently on a separate policy that the City is aware of. Winter trail maintenance as an activity would have to be reviewed by the program insurer to determine whether this is something that can be included under the program.

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