Neighborhood associations need ‘unfair’ insurance coverage drawback fastened rapidly

Community associations need insurance for the events they put on. Most have their premiums covered by the City of Ottawa, but more than two dozen organizations created after amalgamation do not.

© Natalia Goodwin/CBC
Neighborhood associations want insurance coverage for the occasions they placed on. Most have their premiums lined by the Metropolis of Ottawa, however greater than two dozen organizations created after amalgamation don’t.

Some Ottawa neighborhood associations say hovering insurance coverage prices eat into their restricted funds for operating neighbourhood occasions, and so they need the Metropolis of Ottawa to pay for his or her premiums the best way it does for many of their counterparts.

Neighborhood associations want insurance coverage for every little thing they do, similar to operating out of doors rinks, gardens, and barbecues. Beneath an association from 2001, the Metropolis of Ottawa agreed to maintain overlaying business and common legal responsibility for 180 organizations that existed earlier than amalgamation.

Any group that got here alongside after that, nevertheless, has taken half in a bunch fee insurance coverage program and is paying their very own premiums.


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Solely not too long ago, when charges spiked in insurance coverage invoices, did these 27 organizations realized they operated in a two-tier system. Now they need the town to repair the disparity, and rapidly.

“It was an enormous shock to the group,” mentioned Anne Robinson, president of the Manotick Tradition, Parks and Recreation Affiliation.

Her group acquired an insurance coverage invoice for about $2,300, about six occasions greater than what it had paid till just a few years in the past.

The affiliation is not getting any further protection and has by no means filed a declare, but it is paying extra with a bigger deductible, Robinson mentioned.

Metropolis to repair the 2-tier system

The Better Avalon Neighborhood Affiliation in Orléans has existed for 15 years, and it has additionally seen its common legal responsibility insurance coverage soar to $1,663 for the present yr, virtually 5 occasions what it paid in 2019-2020.

Neighborhood associations additionally carry insurance coverage to guard their administrators and board members ought to somebody ever be sued. These prices are additionally rising, however no neighborhood affiliation receives that protection from the Metropolis of Ottawa.

President Rachelle Lecours says the speed hike comes at a time when Better Avalon has been unable to lift cash or maintain occasions through the pandemic. It paid its costly insurance coverage this yr to cowl solely some summer time yoga periods, she mentioned.

Now, it faces a Household Day occasion in February with a low quantity in its checking account, and may reduce the occasion altogether. It may search for its personal insurance coverage supplier, however that may very well be even greater than the group fee.

“It is not truthful,” mentioned Lecours, of the 2 completely different insurance coverage applications for neighborhood associations. “All of us do our greatest to supply providers for the town. Everyone ought to be handled the identical approach.”

Rachelle Lecours says the Greater Avalon Community Association in Orléans has seen a spike in insurance costs at a time when it has been unable to fundraise or hold its usual events.

© Kate Porter/CBC
Rachelle Lecours says the Better Avalon Neighborhood Affiliation in Orléans has seen a spike in insurance coverage prices at a time when it has been unable to fundraise or maintain its typical occasions.

Coun. Matthew Luloff agrees, and says the town needs to carry all associations underneath one coverage.

“It is necessary that we’re not having two tiers of volunteers,” mentioned Luloff, who chairs the committee answerable for recreation, and has teams affected in his Orléans ward.

“It is a huge drawback and it is one we’re dedicated to fixing.”

This yr, the Metropolis of Ottawa will cowl premiums for 137 neighborhood associations and neighborhood gardens for a complete of $235,154. Protection for out of doors rinks falls underneath a special coverage. Town’s total insurance coverage prices have additionally risen dramatically in recent times, and complete $11.9 million for 2021-2022.

Metropolis solicitor David White mentioned he intends to advocate an answer to the two-tier drawback to metropolis council subsequent spring. 

“Workers have undertaken to evaluate the present program with a view to sustaining equitable remedy for these teams offering and supporting neighborhood providers in partnership with the town, whereas additionally making certain applicable danger administration practices are in place to guard the town and taxpayers,” White wrote in an e mail.

Fundraising for insurance coverage

Lecours does not wish to wait months, or till the 2023 metropolis price range.

She thinks the town ought to discover a approach through the present price range course of to stage the taking part in area for the post-amalgamation associations. The finance and financial growth committee meets on Dec. 7, earlier than the price range rises to full council the next day.

Ready will put teams like hers underneath pressure, she says. It is a tough pitch to lift cash from sponsors as a way to cowl insurance coverage prices, she mentioned,.

“No person’s going to fundraise for insurance coverage,” mentioned Robinson, who says donors wish to see their cash being put into the skateboard ramps in Manotick’s Centennial Park, or interpretive panels on pathways.

She worries the spike in insurance coverage prices is demoralizing for folks merely making an attempt to enhance their neighbourhoods.

“That is simply such a block to that type of volunteering. … You type of throw up your arms and go, ‘Why attempt to do that in the neighborhood if we’re having this sort of problem?'”

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