FMCBC Member Clubs have the option of participating in the FMCBC’s Insurance Program, which includes Third Party Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance and Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability insurance.

Clubs participating in our Commercial General Liability coverage should use the FMCBC Universal Waiver. Four different versions exist:

Other forms:

Other documents:

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Insurance

If you’re a member of another FMCBC club and already pay an insurance fee for that club, then no, you don’t have to pay for insurance twice. Both clubs will still be covered.

Note: The FMCBC is unable to cross reference which members of your club are also members of another FMCBC Member Club, therefore all members should pay their membership and insurance fee to your club unless a previous arrangement has been made. Fee reimbursement is the responsibility of the individual clubs and members, not the FMCBC.

These coverages currently cost an additional $11.00 per individual on top of the FMCBC’s membership fee of $8 per membership.

Commercial General Liability insurance policies are designed to provide protection for claims arising out of the insured’s liability for negligent acts and/or omissions causing injury or damage through the ownership of property, operations, sale or distribution of products as well as professional services. Coverage includes defense costs and claims settlement. A series of exclusions apply for areas either uninsurable (e.g., intentional acts) or insured through other third party liability policies (e.g., auto liability, directors and officers liability).

D&O policies are designed to provide protection for officers and directors (and possibly others, including the organization itself) against liabilities arising out of wrongful acts committed while performing their organizational duties.

The activities/operations that the FMCBC, its member clubs and individual members from those clubs participate in includes, but is not limited to: hiking, backpacking, trail running, climbing, mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, ski touring, cross country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, building and maintaining trails, maintaining and operating backcountry huts, offering instructional programs, publishing guidebooks, and holding club socials and meetings.

No.  Because they are electric, e-bikes are considered motorized and their use is not covered under our liability insurance.

Yes, Guests can participate on a few club trips without becoming a member and without paying for membership & insurance in the FMCBC.  Guests are still required to sign a waiver.  The club (and its members, volunteers, leaders) and the FMCBC are still protected if that guest causes a claim to come against the club for something he/she did.  Guests should be encouraged to purchase a full membership after 3 trips.

Yes, but clubs should check with the FMCBC if they are bringing on a large number of volunteers for a specific event or activity as it might require additional coverage. The club (and its members, volunteers, leaders) and the FMCBC are protected if a volunteer or trip leader causes a claim to come against the club for something he/she did.

Yes. It does not matter when someone joins your club. Our policy will extend coverage to them.

This Certificate of Insurance (also referred to as Evidence of Insurance) lists all clubs participating in the FMCBC’s insurance program this year and is proof of your club’s coverage.

If your club requires a certificate of insurance naming an additional insured (for example, you are renting space for a meeting or event), please email our Executive Director (executive.director@mountainclubs.org) to request that certificate. You will need to provide the name and address of the facility/organization/company requiring the certificate.

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Waivers

Clubs should choose the waiver that covers all the activities in which their club participates, but not one that covers activities their club does not do. The waivers can be downloaded, printed and used as is, or clubs can request to have their name included at the top. Email your request to us directly and we should have it back to you within a few days.

All club members and trip participants need to sign a waiver to help protect the FMCBC, its member clubs, their club members and all FMCBC and club volunteers, leaders and instructors. Note: Minors cannot legally sign waivers. Please see the following section for more details on how to handle participants under the age of 19.

Minors (under the age of 19) cannot legally sign a waiver and their parent/guardian cannot sign on their behalf to waive any claims they may have or may have in the future against the FMCBC, its member clubs, their club members and FMCBC and club volunteers, leaders and instructors. In this case the waiver offers no protection and your club or organization will be relying on the FMCBC’s insurance policy against a claim from a minor.

The minor and his/her parent/guardian should instead sign the Acknowledgement of Risk (AR) form, which based on similar forms, the FMCBC’s Universal Waiver and the precedent set in the Wong v. Lok’s Martial Arts Centre court case. An AR form is not a binding contract or release of liability, but it does show the courts that the parent/guardian and the minor were aware of the risks inherent in the activity in which the minor was participating. The AR form also gives the club/trip leader permission to provide first aid and emergency evacuation for the minor if required.

Clubs need to make it clear to their trip leaders that neither a waiver nor an AR form will protect them in the case of a lawsuit from a minor. Both a waiver and AR form are ways to minimize the risk, but the risk cannot be eliminated. Therefore, trip leaders should be made aware if a minor has signed up to participate in their trip, and the trip leader should have the right to refuse allowing a minor to participate if he/she feels that there is too much risk involved.

The AR form should be signed on paper only and no online signing option should be made available by your club. This may change in the future, but for now the reason for this is because the AR form could be confused with a waiver, which could accidentally result in an adult participant signing the non-binding AR form by mistake. Your club needs to make absolute sure that the AR form is only used for minors.

The FMCBC’s policy for university/college clubs is for their student members who are under 19 to sign the Universal Waiver and not the Acknowledgement of Risk form. The reasons for this are:

  • It can be difficult for a university student to obtain a signature from his/her parent/guardian because the student has moved away from his/her hometown to attend university.
  • By only using a waiver it ensures that no adult participant signs a non-binding AR by mistake.
  • It is better to have a signed waiver than no signed form, but in reality neither are going to protect the club or the trip leader in the case of a lawsuit from a minor.

The FMCBC’s Universal Waivers can be signed annually or on a trip-by-trip basis. Technically, there is no expiry on the waiver, but we recommend having members sign it annually when they renew their membership. Signing annually ensures that all current members have a signed waiver on file with the club, shows that a club has good risk management processes in place and reminds the member that he/she has waived their right to make a claim against the FMCBC and member club.

A copy of the waiver should be posted on your website for members and guests to review before participating in a trip. It is not advisable to surprise trip participants with a waiver they have never seen at the trailhead and which they are required to sign if they want to participate. This situation would reduce the strength of the waiver in court. Please review our best practices below for more information on how to use the Universal Waiver and Acknowledgement of Risk forms.

These best practices may seem onerous, but we have spent considerable time researching and discussing each point with our lawyer and insurance broker in order to come up with best practices that improve the enforceability of online waivers in court.

  1. The online waiver document needs to include the exact wording from the FMCBC’s Universal Waiver with similar colour highlighting and bold text formatting.
  2. The online system needs to present the waiver clearly and unambiguously as a stand-alone document that is not incorporated into the membership application form, sign-up form or any other forms.
  3. Member/guest information needs to be collected and should include family name, given name, date of birth, and current email address.
  4. ‘Agree’ checkboxes need to be included for each waiver statement.
  5. A text string method of signing (typing of full name) needs to be used – a checkbox is not a sufficient means of signing.
  6. Submission of the waiver must be restricted until each checkbox is agreed to and the document is signed.
  7. A signing confirmation email needs to be sent to the signing party’s email inbox and a reply must be received to confirm the waiver signing action. An email address must be unique to the applicant and not shared by other applicants.
  8. A process for securely storing, retrieving, and backing up the digital data needs to be in place.

Storage of Online Waiver Data

The following points need to be considered when designing a system for storage of online waiver data:

  1. Data needs to be easily and reliably retrieved.
  2. Data needs to include personal information: full name, date of birth, phone number, email address.
  3. Data needs to include timestamps and meta-data.
  4. Data needs to be securely stored and the owner of the data needs to have a method of proving that the data cannot be tampered with or altered.
  5. A reliable off-site system for backing up the data needs to be in place.
  6. As online systems are continually changing, a description of the user process must be stored with each version of the online waiver signing process.
  7. Ideally, signed waivers should be stored indefinitely, even if stored electronically, because “historical” waivers demonstrate the person’s familiarity with waivers.

Additional Points to Consider When Using an Online Waiver System

  1. Guests: A process needs to be in place for guests to view and sign the waiver in advance of participating on a trip. If no online process is in place for guests, then paper waivers should be used.
  2. Family/Couple Memberships: Clubs who have couple or family membership categories will need to have an online waiver system in place which requires each adult member of the family or couple to sign the waiver before the membership application/renewal can be completed.
  3. Minors: Unless the process for an online version of the FMCBC’s Acknowledgement of Risk (AR) form for minors is approved by the FMCBC, the AR form needs to be signed on paper because it requires three signatures (minor and his/her parent/guardian, and a witness).
  4. Technical Skills and Support: To ensure that a club is storing the appropriate data, which will be their first line of defense from a claim, it is recommended that the club seeks an individual with programming experience to develop their online waiver system. The FMCBC has developed an optional system for clubs who would like to have an online waiver system in place, but do not want to develop one on their own or do not have the technical skills within their club to develop one on their own.

Visuals

  • The waivers are meant to be printed or displayed online in colour so that the highly visible yellow areas draw the reader’s attention.
  • The waivers fit 8 ½ x 11 letter-sizedpaper.
  • Waivers should be printed double-sided to minimize the two pages becoming separated.
  • When printing double-sided, heavier weight paper should be used so that the colour does not bleed through the page.

Signatures

Three signatures are required for each waiver:

Member/participant signs in two places:

  • Top of first page to acknowledge that he/she has given up the right to sue or claim compensation
  • Bottom of second page to confirm he/she has read and understands the waiver and has waived his/her rights

Witness signature (only for paper waivers)

  • The witness needs to be an individual over the age of majority
  • The witness can be next-of-kin
  • The witness needs to watch the participant sign the waiver and immediately follow with his/her own signature.
  • The witness should request a piece of ID (such as a driver’s licence) from the individual signing the waiver, in order to confirm the participant’s identity.
  • A waiver should not be witnessed if the member/participant is intoxicated when signing the waiver.

Additional Points to Consider When Using an Online Waiver System

  • Ensure that the member/participant was given ample opportunity to read the waiver.By having them sign the waiver they confirm they have read and understood it.
  • Post the waiver prominently on the club website. This gives members/participants ample time to read and become familiar with the waiver.
  • Don’t wait until you reach the trailhead to sign waivers.The waiver should be signed when opting out of the trip is still an option
  • Don’t trivialize the waiver or downplay its legal effect (ie “Don’t worry, nothing will happen!”). It’s an important legal document that can protect your club, your volunteers and your leaders in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Explain to your trip leaders the importance of the waiver and that its purpose is to protect them and the club.
  • The waiver should be a separate, standalone document. It should not be combined with other documents, i.e., trip sign in list, membership registration form, health form, etc.
  • The waiver should not be interpreted or explained. It is self-explanatory.
  • Members/trip participants must not cross out or delete areas of the waiver. If they do, or if they refuse to sign the waiver altogether, they should not be allowed to go on the trip.

Storage of Waivers

  • Ideally, signed waivers should be stored indefinitely, even if stored electronically, because “historical” waivers demonstrate the person’s familiarity with waivers.
  • The AR form should be signed on paper only and no online signing option should be made available. This may change in the future, but for now the reason for this is because the AR form could be confused with a waiver, which could accidentally result in an adult participant signing the non-binding AR form by mistake.
  • Clubs need to ensure that the AR form is only used for minors.
  • AR forms should be printed in full colour on heavier stock paper (so the colour does not bleed).

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Incident Reporting

The Incident Reporting form states that it’s to be used for any significant incident, injury, etc. which occurs during a club sanctioned trip or event and which could result in an insurance claim. Any situation where significant first aid, or a doctor or hospital visit is required, would require a form to be submitted to the FMCBC. If in doubt, please fill out the form and then contact the FMCBC for clarification.

Please fill out the Incident Reporting form as soon as possible and submit it to fmcbc@mountainclubs.org.

You may be required to answer some follow-up questions from our insurer, including whether the incident took place during a club-sanctioned trip. You may also be asked to submit a copy of the signed waiver.

To make the incident reporting process go as smoothly as possible, clubs should document and keep a record of all of their trips, and also have a well-organized system for storing waivers so you can produce them when required.

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