“Insurance is a provincial issue, but I’m sure Mr. Fedeli can try to defend our cause and even see if there is some openness to different sources of funding”
TEMAGAMI – Camp owners in the Lake Temagami area are looking for all the help they can get from the government with their denied insurance claims.
Speaking on behalf of Camp Wanapitei, Jackie Hodgins – board member, shareholder and site manager – told the Temagami board at a special meeting held on December 23 that the camps that operate on Lake Temagami their COVID-19 insurance claims were denied.
“We on Lake Temagami and at another camp in British Columbia were the only overnight camps in Canada not to receive this request,” she said.
Hodgins said the camps “acted in good faith” with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision not to allow overnight camps to open for the summer season in 2020 and have not opened. their doors.
“The camper fees for the summer are our main source of income and I think that’s probably the case for all the other camps,” she noted.
“So this announcement virtually wiped out all income for the entire year. ”
Hodgins said the camp’s insurance policy had an endorsement covering infectious disease outbreaks, so they expected to recoup some of their losses. They also have a business interruption reimbursement clause.
However, the suppliers, Ark and Sovereign, have consistently denied Camp Wanapitei’s claim as well as the claims of other camps on Lake Temagami, which includes Camp Wabikon, Canadian Adventure Camp, Northwaters Wilderness Canoe Camp, Camp Temagami and Keewaydin.
“They say we did not meet the definition of the COVID-19 outbreak within 40 km of our camp before May 1, 2020,” Hodgins said.
“Every other camp in Ontario with the infectious disease extension received payment. The only town within 40 km of our site is Temagami. ”
Hodgins said Ontario’s COVID testing capacity before last May was “limited” and that there was no testing center within 40 km of Lake Temagami.
“Therefore, there was no way for us to prove the 25 mile stipulation,” she said.
Hodgins said the camp had a letter from Dr Glenn Corneil, acting district medical officer of health and CEO of the Timiskaming health unit, stating that people with COVID-19 were within 40 km of their campsite, but the insurers did not recognize it as proof of their claim.
“We believe insurers are acting in bad faith and have taken advantage of our remote location and our community’s code of conduct for protecting patient privacy,” she said.
Hodgins said Camp Wanapitei would survive despite its financial setbacks if it was able to operate this year, but the future was certainly not clear.
“The financial impact of (last) year will be felt for at least five years, if not longer,” she stressed.
“Capital projects, the advancement of our programs and our purchases will need to be carefully managed, and some shelved, until we are financially stable. 2021 is still a mystery, we can see that we need to put in place changes to our programs and infrastructure to facilitate government requirements. It’s incredibly difficult for us to budget and we’re even struggling to figure out what (2021) is going to look like. ”
Hodgins said camp owners lacked the financial means to sue insurers, but hoped Temagami’s board could push the Ontario government more “to make sure that insurance are entitled to deny us our claim ”.
She said the camp owners left him in front of the council tribunal to see what would be possible on their side.
Temagami Mayor Dan O’Mara said the municipality has sent a letter to Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota and will do everything possible to find support for the camps.
Treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson noted that the city’s hands were “somewhat tied” from a business perspective, as the Municipalities Act prevents the city from providing financial assistance to businesses.
“What we can do, not so much with our MPP John Vanthof, although he can certainly be a cheerleader and a supporter, but if we go to the MP just south of us (Vic Fedeli) he is also the Minister of Economic Development and Trade for the province, ”said Davidson.
“Insurance is a provincial issue, but I’m sure Mr. Fedeli can try to champion our cause and even see if there is some openness to different sources of funding.
The next regular council meeting will be on January 21, with O’Mara noting that the municipality will be lobbying the government on behalf of the camps in the meantime. Further discussions will also take place on potential supports for the camps during the meeting.
Jamie Mountain is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative with the speaker from Temiskaming. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.