In light of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Equestrian Canada and Equestrian Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) Canada-wide are warning the horse community to bunker down, cancel events, and rescind all equine-related activities. Those who choose to ignore these recommendations should do so with the knowledge of risks involved, from a social, ethical, and legal standpoint.
Riding establishments and coaches are being advised to check with their respective insurance companies to ensure compliance if they continue to offer programs and services during this period. As the preferred insurance broker for PTSO's from coast to coast, CapriCMW has shared with us an "Open letter to our clients and others who are part of the equine community," in an effort to stress both the social and legal responsibilities of all equestrians, and Canadians, to "flatten the curve."
Contributed by CapriCMW
March 17, 2020
An open letter to our clients and others who are a part of the equine community.
We are all dealing with the challenges of managing this unprecedented situation. At CapriCMW, we have embraced our shared responsibility to help “flatten the curve” health and Government officials talk about to stem the spread of the virus amongst our family members, our colleagues and the community at large.
Many of you will already have had correspondence from Equestrian Canada and/or your Provincial/Territorial Sport Organization regarding suspensions of their operations and deferral or outright cancellations of events for the near future.
As an insurer and risk manager so heavily engaged in the horse industry, we felt we needed to make a statement in response to a growing number of inquiries from the equine community.
First, this situation could expose you to legal liability if you do not conduct yourself in a responsible manner.
Second, it is important to understand that Government and Health Authorities have the sole authority to close businesses down. Currently, more than one province has declared a state of emergency that will affect many of our clients and I expect other authorities across the country will follow suit in the coming days. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are operating all aspects of your business in accordance with the rules and laws that apply to you. There is no shortage of information available on the web from provincial and municipal Government in this regard.
At this time, it is our strong recommendation that all facilities where the public attend for services (riding lessons, horse shows, training sessions etc.) suspend activity until authorities make it clear that the risk has passed.
These recommendations are not just about social responsibility; they are your legal responsibility as well.
We will continue to monitor the situation with the intent of providing assistance where we can. If you have any questions, we’re always here to help.
Michael A. (Mike) King, Partner, CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd.
COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions
- by Mike King, Partner, CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. (original document here)
For Commercial Equine Enterprise Operations
1) I have temporarily closed my riding school/camp and some other operations to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. I also have boarders on my property and wonder if they should be allowed to come here?
During this unprecedented time, we know you will agree that you have a special responsibility to ensure the safety of guests, clients, staff, your family – and of course, the horses in your care. Our recommendation is to follow the guidelines and best practices as set out by Government and health authorities with regard to the operation of your business. In horse boarding places, this may mean allowing fewer boarders to be on site at any one time, making sure all visitors adopt social distancing strategies, that you have hand sanitization equipment available, that boarders minimize co-mingling with staff and others on the farm.
In summary, you should adopt a strict risk management and best practices plan that demonstrates to your boarders that these extraordinary measures are being taken to protect everyone and only those staff and other people that are essential to maintain the health and welfare of the horses are allowed to attend at this time.
2) Does essential staff and other people include vets, farriers, chiropractors and those assisting with rehabilitation exercises?
We agree that these primary caregivers and others are essential to maintain the health of the horse and should be given controlled access unless ordered otherwise by Government or Health officials.
3) Am I liable if someone contracts COVID-19 while on my property?
A lawyer is the best resource to answer this question. What we can say is that acting outside of regulations as set out by Government and Health authorities would negatively impact any insurance coverage.
4) I am an insured freelance coach who travels from barn to barn and some of my client’s barn are still open. Am I covered if I provide a lesson during the outbreak?
You have the same responsibilities as any of us to do your part to slow the spread of the virus. Travelling from barn to barn may be putting yourself and others at risk. Our recommendation is to contact local Health and/or Government authorities to get clear direction.
Your Provincial and National Sport Organizations are working very hard to offer assistance to the community by offering best practice guidance that considers the overall health and welfare of everyone involved – including the horse. If you are in doubt of whether you are operating your business as required in the current environment, you should consult your local Government and Health authorities.
We will continue to monitor the situation with the intent of providing assistance where we can.
If you have any further questions, we’re here to help. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.