Several community associations in Ottawa have called on city officials to fix a two-tier insurance system that leaves them out of city-paid commercial and general liability coverage.
According to a CBC News report, Ottawa currently pays for the insurance policies of 180 organizations under a 2001 arrangement. However, community associations formed after that arrangement are left to pay for their own coverage – and rising insurance costs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed that two-tier system.
“It was a huge shock to the group,” Anne Robinson, president of the Manotick Culture, Parks and Recreation Association, told CBC News.
Meanwhile, Rachelle Lecours, president of the Greater Avalon Community Association, called the current system unfair.
“We all do our best to provide services for the city,” she told CBC News. “Everybody should be treated the same way.”
In response, Ottawa city councillor Matthew Luloff told CBC News that the city is working on bringing all associations under one policy.
“It’s important that we’re not having two tiers of volunteers,” said Luloff. “It’s a big problem and it’s one we’re committed to solving.”
Meanwhile, Ottawa city solicitor David White told CBC News that he’s looking to recommend a solution to city council next spring.
“Staff have undertaken to review the existing program with a view to maintaining equitable treatment for those groups providing and supporting community services in partnership with the city, while also ensuring appropriate risk management practices are in place to protect the city and taxpayers,” White told CBC News in an email.
However, many associations say that rising costs have brought a new sense of urgency and want to see faster action – including Lecours, who told CBC News the city should look to fixing the problem during the current budget process.
According to CBC News, the city’s finance and economic development committee meets on December 7, before the budget rises to full council the following day.