Risk Management

Risk Management Advisories


Rental of School Facilities and/Permits

School boards, universities, colleges and municipalities are public institutions that encourage community groups to use their facilities. It is recognized that there is an increased risk associated with allowing others to use facilities, both in terms of damage to property, and potential liability for injury to participants or spectators. An important risk management strategy is to ensure that users of your premises have adequate liability insurance for their activities, and that they take responsibility for damage to your buildings or equipment.


One of the most accepted methods of transferring risk is through the use of clearly worded permits for use of facilities. School boards should have one form for this purpose, and it should be used for all applicants for use of premises - even when the board is allowing the use, free of charge.

A proper permit will include clearly worded requirements that outline the responsibilities of the users for use of the premises. There should be indemnity and insurance clauses which make the user responsible for providing insurance for their activities and makes the user take responsibility for damages to the premises. Proof of insurance should accompany the permit. The board should ask to be named as an additional insured on the insurance of the user.

Insurance for User Groups

It is recognized that many of the small groups that use school facilities do not carry liability insurance. It should also be recognized that these groups and their organizers are vulnerable to law suits for injuries that arise out of their activities, and that the user groups are not covered under the school board's liability insurance. It is, therefore, in the best interests of user groups, as well as for the school board, that these groups have insurance for their activities.

OSBIE is pleased to offer a new Facility User Group Program specifically designed for members of the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange. We know how important affordable use of schools is to your community and have worked to develop an affordable, simple plan. This plan is ideal for organizations or groups using school facilities on a regular basis over a period of time or for one-time events. For more information on this exciting new product, please contact Tammy Hicks by email or phone at 1-800-668-6724.

Another source for single event liability insurance protection for groups or individuals is through Party Alcohol Liability insurance (PAL). PAL provides coverage for single/multi-day events with or without alcohol involved. This plan is ideal for events such as fundraisers that are being held outside of the jurisdiction of the school, or weddings, receptions, etc. Contact PAL at: 1-800-265-8095.

The requirement for insurance for user groups is an accepted risk management strategy that is practiced by most large organizations. OSBIE issues over 2,000 certificates a year for school boards that are required to provide insurance for school boards' use of the premises of others, such as malls, municipalities, parks, etc.

Liquor Liability

Boards that are asked to rent their facilities for events that include alcohol are faced with additional risks. In addition to asking for liability insurance, the board should be assured that the user group has liquor liability insurance to protect against alcohol risks.

There have been several cases where the owners of premises were held responsible for injuries that occurred to people who left their premises intoxicated.

The solution, is to ensure that the group is properly insured and will operate its function in a reasonable manner. Boards that have their user group coverage with OSBIE have Host Liquor Liability included in the package. The Party Alcohol Liability Insurance (PAL) is another source of coverage for these events.

The OSBIE Liability Policy contains liquor liability protection for school boards that are running their own events, that include the dispensing of alcohol. However, many boards have elected to purchase the PAL coverage for their own functions, as another way of transferring risks.

Insurance is not a substitute for good risk management:

School boards that run their own events where alcohol is served should ensure that mature, responsible, and qualified people are bartending. All bar tending and serving staff/volunteers should complete a "Smart Serve" or comparable program to help reduce the chance of over-serving patrons. The "designated driver" concept, should be promoted. Other ideas or promotional material might be obtained from the liquor licensing board, local police and the "RIDE" program.

Transportation Contracts

It is recommended that transportation contracts with bus companies, and others, include an indemnity hold harmless clause to indemnify the school board for any claims brought against them arising out of the operation of the vehicle. In addition, there should be a requirement for the contracting company to carry comprehensive general liability insurance (CGL) for claims that arise from injuries sustained, unrelated to the operation of the vehicle. For instance, dropping a child off at the wrong bus stop would be an example of a claim that would fall under a CGL insurance policy, and not the automobile liability coverage. There should be a requirement for the board to be named as an additional insured on the CGL Policy of the contractor.

Automobile Liability Provincial Requirements

The Highway Transport Act and the Public Vehicles Act set out the limits vehicle owners should
carry in Regulation 982 of the Public Vehicles Act.

a.) School Buses

The Third Party Liability insurance limits for school buses are as follows:

Seating Liability Limits
1 to 7 $1,000,000
8 to 12 $5,000,000
13 plus $8,000,000

School Boards that insure their own bus fleets with OSBIE can be confident that their limits are well in excess of the provincial minimums outlined above. School Boards that have contracts with independent operators should ensure that these operators are carrying at least the minimum limits.

b.) Teachers and Volunteers

We suggest that school boards recommend $1,000,000 liability limits be carried by teachers and volunteer drivers.
$200,000 is the minimum required by law.

c.) Taxis

Taxis should carry the minimum limits, outlined above, based on seating capacity.

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