It's come to my attention this fall, that school / parent councils in the Ontario require their own insurance / liability coverage. Having been on school councils for the past 7 years this is the first we have ever heard of this requirement.
I am wondering if other school / parent councils have been made aware of this requirement and how long have they known about.
I have spoken to several other school council chairperson's within our board and none of them know about this requirement.
The OSBIE (Ontario School Boards' Insurance Exchange) has a page explaining the rationale behind this requirement.
I don't think it is required, Leslie. If the school council activities are "sanctioned"/approved by and with the principal, the group is covered under board insurance. A school council could still get it if they wanted to though. If they are doing independent activities, there may be some necessity for it. Unless something has changed that I am not unaware of... being less involved with school councils lately.
I hope others will share their experiences with this.
Hi Sheila and Nancy,
Thank-you for your valuable comments.
The way it was described to our parent council is different. If it was a school initiative then we were covered. If it was a parent council initiative then we were not covered, whether or not it was on school property or not.
It came down to the following:
1. We are covered if the funds raised are destined to the school account.
2. We are not covered if the funds are destined to the Parent Council school account.
All the funds we raise as Parent Council, are for the benefit of the students, and we allocate all of our funds to them yearly, so we are very confused.
I am a little bit confused now but have copied and pasted from our minutes (November 2012) where we had the explanation from the Director of Education. I'm not sure about where the funds are deposited as our board has the funds all go into the school account, but are accounted for in the School Council category. It is only Home and School's who have separate school accounts.
Insurance Coverage through OSBIE: As a member you are covered under the School Board Policy therefore School Council Insurance is not required. There are 2 examples of when this extra Insurance is required: 1) If a School Council holds a dance on the weekend, after hours, and off-site as a fundraiser and you do not have the approval of the Principal as a school sanctioned event, then extra insurance is required, and; 2) School Council wants to run a team-building activity that is high-risk, then extra insurance is required.
As one parent stated after the meeting, it seemed like OSBIE is a business and was doing a marketing campaign and confusing parent councils at the same time. I would almost suggest contacting your school board and speaking with a trustee or the director and see how they define coverage.
I hope I haven't made things more confusing.
It sounds like this is really an issue around fundraising/financial reporting policies and expectations. Or a way to nudge things to one school account? Collaboration from all needed regardless, I guess? Have you reviewed your board's fundraising policy in regards to this?
What did your school council decide, Leslie? Is it clear what the council is actually covered for? Do all SC's pay the same amount to purchase this? How much?
Our council decided to purchase the insurance.
But after we decided to purchase and after further investigation on our part, we found that we really did not need it.
We would be covered by the board's policy as long as the school principal or the board sanctions the event.
We have requested a complete copy of the policy and hope to have that by our next meeting on 04-Dec-2013.
At that point we will have a clearer idea on what is covered. When we receive the policy, I will upload a copy.
I would ask other SC's to alos post their policy if they decided to purchase the insurance.
I am unsure if all school councils pay the same amount within other boards.
Within our board, school councils would have to pay $151.20 (PST included)
How much is your board telling you it costs?
I hope that I have answered all of your questions.
Thanks, Leslie.. thanks for your update and answers! I will let you know if I hear about costs/differences.