An Open Letter From the Chair

Good public policy ideas should not be the preserve of a single political party or region of the country.

Good public policy ideas should not be the preserve of a single political party or region of the country. In that regard, I was pleased to see one of the leadership candidates for the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador advance the idea of indemnification of various sports organizations from COVID 19 claims if they have adhered to public health guidelines. 

British Columbia New Democrat Premier John Horgan has already established this approach on the West Coast, and in Quebec Premier Francois Legault's Coalition Avenir Quebec government has created a system to protect sports organizations from COVID 19 claims.  By doing so they are helping throw lifelines to many sports organizations who are desperately trying to restart their activities for the benefit of all. Sports Organizations are the lifeblood of communities from Victoria to St. John's. They keep people active, healthy and socially engaged. They generate in real time and over time enormous economy activity. However, like many small businesses they have little or no cash reserves to deal with any new challenges that unexpectedly come their way. 

Most sports organizations in Canada are hearing from their insurance providers that they will not cover the costs of any participant who contracts COVID 19. That is a huge vulnerability, and if left unaddressed it may mean some sports will have difficulty restarting. From rugby's perspective, Premier Horgan's action was very welcome. If the same approach were possible in all Provinces, that would indeed also be a very positive outcome.

COVID 19 has been difficult on all Canadians. Regaining hope, optimism and helping generate immediate economic activity doesn't just require grand strategy or task forces, as sometimes it can happen with immediate action. Moving to indemnify sports organizations who adhere to public health guidelines is one such action and something I hope all of Canada's political leaders will consider.

Tim Powers

Chair – Rugby Canada