The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Hello all media contacts; 

Further to Media Advisory sent June 3, 2020.

 Ontario Tennis Association and its member clubs and players requests Ontario Government to protect amateur sports organizations and their boards of directors from lawsuits stemming from COVID-19. 

On May 14 Premier Doug Ford announced that people could return to play tennis, golf and a few other sports as early as May 19 as long as it was safe to do so. Other than the provincially mandated physical distancing guidelines that had previously been released, no specific requirements and recommendations particular to the sport were outlined by the province. The Government of British Columbia recently passed an order under the Emergency Program Act that protects all sports organizations and organizers (including tennis clubs and their boards) from being sued if someone contracts or transmits COVID-19 (or claims to have), as a result of their participation in organized amateur sport; as long as those organizations are following provincially-mandated pandemic guidelines. The Ontario Tennis Association (OTA) member clubs that  re-opened recently have put stringent health and safety protocol in place.

Please click the link below to read a recent article from a newspaper, The Chronicle Herald in British Columbia, which examines what the BC government has recently enacted to protect amateur sport volunteers in its province: https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/sports/hockey/province-clears-insurance-roadblock-to-return-of-amateur-sport-in-bc-460713/

If legislation of this type were to be passed by the Government Ontario, it would completely remove the possibility of any sports organizations and their boards from being sued for anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This would serve to add an extra layer of protection to all sports organizations and the people who make it possible for citizens to stay healthy and participate in their favourite recreational activity.

In order to bring this to the attention of the Ontario government, the OTA has asked tennis club representatives and their players to consider joining the organization in contacting their local MPP to request that a similar order be enacted in Ontario ASAP. Please click here to see a template for clubs and players letter to their MPP. 

It is the organizations hope that together, we can compel the Ontario government to make the same change that was made in British Columbia. The threat of lawsuits from COVID-19 victims, or those who claim to be victims, threatens not only the over 250 OTA member clubs and leagues; many of them community clubs, but also the over 3,000 volunteers who act in good faith to deliver tennis programming across the province. As well, threats of this kind will also impact countless other amateur sports and cultural organizations that the province plans to allow to re-open in the coming days. 

OTA President and CEO Jim Boyce would be pleased to avail himself to discuss this topic on air, or with any interested print and on-line publication. 

To request an interview with Jim Boyce, contact Peter Malcomson, OTA Marketing Manager (416) 358-9580c or pmalcomson@tennisontario.com

About the Ontario Tennis Association

Founded in 1918, the OTA is a non-profit, provincial sport association for tennis in Ontario. It is the largest provincial tennis association in Canada, with over 250 member clubs representing  85,000 adult and junior tennis players. The OTA encourages participation in the sport of tennis and provides a structure of services which  assist players to reach a level of competence consistent with their personal goals and abilities. The OTA sanctions and operates the Junior, Senior and Open Provincial Championships and is located at the Aviva Centre, home of the Rogers Cup and Tennis Canada. For more information on the OTA, please visit our Web site at: www.tennisontario.com