A new ministerial order, issued June 10, 2020, aims to promote a return of amateur sport in British Columbia. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the Honorable Mike Farnworth, issued Ministerial Order M183, the Protection Against Liability for Sports (COVID-19) Order (viewable here) to support amateur sport activities in the province while protecting the health, safety and welfare of all participants.
What does the Order do?
The ministerial order acts to limit liability for damage related to COVID-19 infections from organized sport activities by sport organizations. The order shields organizations, their directors, officers, employees or volunteers by rendering these individuals not liable for damages resulting directly or indirectly from an individual being or likely being infected with or exposed to COVID-19 as a result of organization, administration, facilitation or provision of an organized sport activity.
It is important to note that in order to receive this protection an organization, and the relevant directors, officers, employees or volunteers must act, or reasonably believe they are acting, in accordance with all applicable emergency and public health guidance. Emergency and public health guidance can come from a variety of sources as referenced in the order.
How long does it apply?
The order is immediately in force and will continue until the last extension of the State of Emergency in BC expires or is cancelled.
Are there any limitations?
It is important to note that the although the order limits liability for those individuals mentioned above, it will not limit liability if the organization, director, officer, employee or volunteer is acting in a grossly negligent manner.
The ministerial order will facilitate the return of amateur sports in British Columbia provided organizations can adapt and follow all emergency and public health guidance. As this is an area that is evolving rapidly, organizations should continue to monitor provincial updates in this area.
This article should not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Please contact us for specific questions and advice about your situation and we would be happy to help you.
Key in returning to operation will be developing internal policies to ensure your organization’s operations are complying with the most current emergency and public health guidance, to ensure your organization is shielded from liability under the order.
Planning for your organization’s return to organized sport activities and need some additional guidance? Our lawyers are happy to assist with any questions about compliance with this new order and helping get amateur sport back up and running in BC!