Skip to Main Content

Trail Risk Management

Ontario Trails works with consultants and the insurance industry to reduce your trail risk exposure. Our in-class and on-trails training provides principles and practice to safeguard your trails and the people that use them.

For over 20 years Ontario Trails has worked to reduce recreational trail risk exposure. By working with industry experts in corporate risk we produced the Ontario Trails Liability and Risk Report in 2002. Then by engaging the provincial government through the creation of the Ontario Trails Strategy 2003-05 we secured the beginnings of provincial-level awareness of escalating insurance costs, conflict, motorized, and other user behaviors.

Ontario Trails Risk Management Committee

Through the work of the Ontario Trail Coordinating Committee (a creation of the Ontario Trails Strategy), Ontario Trails led the call to maintain and strengthen the Occupiers Liability Act, created a provision for risk reduction to Conservation or Parks charging a gate fee, created a better user understanding of appropriate and allowed use through the separation of uses via the Ontario Trails Website; as well as the creation of the Ontario Trails Act, the implementation of training in Risk Practice at Algonquin College, or in the classroom with Direct Bearing Inc. 

Since 2012 Ontario Trails has produced direct to trail manager training (see course outline below), we have promoted trail etiquette and the use of "Expect and Respect" signage on trails. In 2011 we initiated the "Trails Counts!" program so that managers of the trail could measure trail use, or trail traffic so as to better realize the level of operating risk exposure. Since 2003 we have encouraged the use of trail counters as a means of understanding what is happening on trails. This led to an understanding by the City of Mississauga that "trails are by far our most used and popular recreation resource for our residents" Gil Penalosa, Ontario Provincial Trails Conference, Brantford 2006.

4 Classifications: Concise + Understandable = Applicable

Today, September 2019 we are pleased to report that we are releasing the Ontario Trails Trails Classification Primer. Working through our industry, educator, practitioner, user, and builder led Risk Management Committee, with the strong leadership of Intact Public Entities Inc., we have produced a readily useable, knowledge-based, concise, and succinct tool that enables trail users, managers, operators, or assessors to understand what type of trail they are viewing.

Watch for our Trail Classification Outline coming soon.

Training Session

Who should attend: Any manager or person responsible for the safe and responsible operation of recreational trail and/or trail activity, lands, parks, or conservation areas with trails.

Course Objective: To provide participants with the best possible understanding of liability as it pertains to recreational trails. This course is not intended to substitute or replace formal legal advice, all information is provided for discussion purposes only.

Course Details: This course is delivered as a 2 day, 12-hour module. Using photos and /or video of actual trails we will demonstrate actual trail risks and show how these risks can be managed. Through the use of photos of real signage, we will provide participants with a “hands-on” experience allowing them to clearly differentiate between the good and the bad.

Course Outline:

1. Responsibilities/Liability
2. Requirements for Varying Types of Trails
3. Policies and operations
4. Joint & Several Liability
5. Vicarious liability
6. Immunities
7. Assumption of Risk
8. Risk Management
9. Law of Risk Management
10. Inspections
11. Documentation
12. Signs
13. Appropriate Use of the trail
14. Rules of the trail
15. Risk Assessments
16. Risk Financing
17. Insurance

Partners - Direct Bearing Inc.

Intact Public Entities Inc.

User Federations


Trail Counts