Trails offer people access to Ontario's great outdoors. Trails are Ontario's great outdoor recreational playground. Most trails require some form of insurance for the user, the builder and the landowner. In Ontario insurance keeps trails open. Find out more below.
Ontario Trails Council Insurance Program
OTC Insurance accessibility options are available for OTC Members only. The Intercity InsurancePackage offers access to a cost competitive insurance package containing FOUR types of coverage:
- Directors Liability, a general liability insurance for non-profit, or charitable organizations.
- Outdoor Recreational Program Insurance (0REC) - a coverage program for developers and preservers of recreational trail, good if you have volunteers.
- OREC includes event insurance! - includes coverage for fund raising events and other trail events through the period of the policy, however, always check with the underwriter as special conditions may apply for extreme events or other event specific circumstances.
- General Commercial Liability and Standard Non-Owned Vehicle Insurance - these protect volunteers of your group or agency if they conduct business on behalf of the organization.
Permit - purchase a trail pass and receive coverage while you ride through the permit!
Single Use Adventure - going out of doors try this single trip limited time option from Thomas Cook.
Mountain Biker - talk to IMBA, they'll have you talk to Oasis.
Outdoor Backpacking/Hiking - try this package from our friends at Thomas Cook.
Single use member Based - support Mountain Equipment Co-op and get a deal on outdoor insurance.
Fear - got a machine and afraid of costs if you have an accident - talk to Oasis - they'll help you out!
Equestrian? join the Ontario Equestrian Federation and you'll get more than your ride covered!
Overseas Adventure? - well top up on coverage you are out of country! Blue Cross options
Status of Insurance for Ontario's Trails
Most trails in Ontario are volunteer based and volunteer driven. Trail organizations with paid staff for construction, maintenance and supervision, have volunteer boards of directors.
These boards have a duty of care over the trail. This means they are responsible for the risks persons take in operating and using the trail. If the risk of duty becomes too great, volunteers may have to withdraw their services. Without these volunteers the trail system could break down.
Take our survey
The Ontario Trails Council with the support of the Ministry of Health Promotion has designed an on-line surveyto gather and assess your the level of insurance protection activity in the Ontario landscape today. Your input is vital in terms of determining future government supports and market actions in the provision of affordable insurance.
Understanding Risk Management
Trail organizations minimize their exposure to risk through proven trail management practices. These are management actions that minimize the possibility of damage or injury (e.g. signs, barricades, supervision), minimize the impact of an accident (e.g. first aid posts, rescue equipment) and the transfer the liability to the trail user (e.g. disclaimers, user education).
In order to minimize these risks trail organizations pay for General liability insurance. This defends the trail organization in the event they are sued. If blame is assigned to the trail organization the insurance pays damages. In almost every case, general liability insurance extends to the defense of owners of land adjacent to and over which the trails pass.
Regardless of outcome, every case causes insurance fee escalation. Regardless of organization, what happens on a trail in Thunder Bay affects rates of trails in Cornwall, Windsor, Ottawa, etc.
In addition, the insurance industry has been under pressure for years. For a variety of reasons, notably and poor financial results, escalation in claim costs, the events of September 11 and a changing legal environment have all contributed to this increased fee for general liability insurance.
Through discussion with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration the OTC and others have convinced MCI to work with all voluntary sector organizations to improve their understanding of risk management and how good risk management works for them. Attend a free session on risk management near you!
This situation hit ALL Ontario's trails
The result has been an escalation of cost to the point where some trail organizations and user groups can't afford it. Also trails applying for grants from organizations such as government and charitable foundations have been put on hold pending either resolution of the overall issue or proof of insurance.
OTC is examining a provincial user fee system that may, if implemented use its revenues to fund insurance and other trial operation costs. OFATV have negotiated insurance coverage packages for its members. OFSC have continued to negotiate coverage for its members at the best possible rates.
All motorized groups have revised member education, trail maintenance and user information packages in order to promote trail use safety.
The work plan of the Ontario Trails Council, and the Trillium Trail Network is compiling trail management best practices from across the country and then reviewing and adopting those into a made in Ontario TTN Best Practices and Guidelines Model.
The TTN model is then established through registration and audit process will distinguish those trails, which are managed in a safe and effective way This should have the effect of lowering insurance rates overall as well as making preferential rates available to those with established guidelines in place.
For more information on this initiative, please contact:
Ontario Trails Council
Patrick Connor CAE
Phone 613 279-2772