Toll Free: 1.877.225.0446

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Insurer working on future pandemic coverage for school boards, post-COVID

As the Ontario government unveils its school re-opening plan, the insurer for the majority of the province’s boards is working on a plan to provide pandemic coverage, albeit for future pandemics and not for COVID-19.

Within the next six to eight months, the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) “may have a product that provides more specific coverage to school boards in the event of a pandemic,” said Jim Sami, CEO of Guelph-based OSBIE, in an interview this past Friday. “This would not provide coverage related to COVID-19 but will provide both first party and third-party coverage relating to future pandemics.”

At the moment, if a school insured by OSBIE is sued by a third party, and the pleadings allege there was COVID-19 transmission, OSBIE would have no automatic duty to defend unless it also alleges that the school board was in some way negligent, said Sami.

Generally, insurance is intended to cover sudden and unforeseen risk, rather than an event with a high probability of happening. OSBIE insures about 90% of school boards in Ontario, and that includes liability coverage. School boards can either buy insurance from OSBIE or from a different insurer.

“How schools manage the risk of disease transmission depends on how the Ministry of Education proceeds with re-opening. They are looking for various scenarios and each one would have specific risks that need to be addressed. For example, full opening, partial opening, virtual opening or hybrid.”


Governments increase support for eligible farmers experiencing labour challenges during COVID-19

The governments of Canada and Ontario are providing the best support possible to help farmers by enhancing AgriInsurance coverage for the 2020 growing season to include managing challenges and labour shortages due to COVID-19.

Ontario’s agriculture industry, specifically farms growing fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, melons and peaches, are labour intensive and highly dependent on seasonal agricultural workers. During the pandemic, there has been interrupted regular flows of worker travel and has resulted in some gaps in labour availability, which may result in some crops being unharvested and financial loss for the agri-food industry.

The federal government made a commitment on May 5th to work with the provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. Of note, Ontario is home to 49,600 farms, growing 200 different commodities. Ontario’s agriculture industry supports 69,000 jobs and contributes $7.6 billion to the GDP.

Ontario farmers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan who suffer from crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season will have access to further insurance coverage. The added insurance coverage will include:

  • Inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19; and
  • Illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19.

For further information, visit