SWG Property: As Campgrounds Reopen, Owners Should Consider These Risks

Jul 2020

SWG Property: As Campgrounds Reopen, Owners Should Consider These Risks

As Canada announced its gradual reopening of private parks and campgrounds, Canadians are itching to get back into more of their “normal” summer activities. On June 22, 2020, Parks Canada offered campers, hikers, and canoeists some respite from lockdown as it began to offer select camping services and national parks across the country.

For now, these services are available only to visitors with existing reservations. But over the coming weeks, they will gradually be made available for new bookings. Across the country, park closures are continually being reassessed, and provinces are opening or partially opening their campgrounds and conservation areas to keep risks low.

Backcountry camping, for example, is considered low-risk because campers typically travel in small groups, come fully equipped with their own supplies, and do not require the use of any facilities such as public washrooms, showers, or amenities.

Ontario Parks, which manages 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation areas, has opened parks for backcountry camping activities with some restrictions. For example, only a maximum of five campers will be allowed to occupy a campsite, unless they are from the same household.

And while the province has also reopened Crown land for recreational camping, shared facilities such as roofed accommodations, visitors centres, showers, playgrounds, and sports fields, remain closed. In addition, campers are reminded to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.

Safety Liabilities in the Time of COVID-19

Despite their best measures, campground owners know that there are still exposures to watch out for when it comes to public health and safety.


Overcrowding in park spaces and buildings is a major factor in peak visitation seasons. With the coronavirus, it becomes an even more urgent safety issue.

Campgrounds might not have the security or personnel needed to monitor and control overcrowding (such as tenters and RV owners not maintaining a safe physical distance from one another), or respond to visitor issues.

While owners can limit daily visiting and bookings, they are essentially testing their approaches and making adjustments as per the advice of their province’s medical officials. It will take time to find the right approaches to mitigate health risks associated with overcrowding.

Limited Access to Facilities:

According to the Canadian government website, campers are advised to take safety precautions to avoid putting their health at risk while visiting.

For example, in addition to expecting a limited level of service and limited access to visitor facilities, they are advised:

  • To bring their own food and water as facilities may be closed
  • To familiarize themselves with local public health authority guidelines and advise
  • To follow public health authority recommendations on the use of non-medical masks if they will be in a crowded setting and it is not possible to maintain a two-metre distance from others. (1)

Campgrounds that fail to inform their visitors about limited access could factor into someone coming underprepared and compromising their safety.

SWG PROPERTY Campground Liability Insurance for Ontario Campgrounds

Available Coverages Include:

  • Cover for Buildings: Equipment & Contents – Scheduled Form
  • Named Perils coverage ACV or All Risk Coverage including Replacement Cost and Consequential Loss (if risk qualifies)
  • Office Equipment Floater
  • Miscellaneous Property Floater
  • Boat and Motor Floater
  • Trailer Floater (trailers held for sale)
  • Non-Owned Trailers (legal liability for damage to customers trailer)
  • Broad Form Money & Securities (if risk qualifies)
  • Commercial General Liability (up to $5,000,000 limit available)

South Western Insurance Group Limited’s Campgrounds product, also covers extended liability exposures like:

  • Playgrounds, Mini Golf Courses, and Basketball Courts,
  • Swimming Areas, including both Beaches & Pools, and
  • Boat Rentals, including Canoes, Kayaks, and Paddle Boats plus boats slips/docks

Visit our website for more information.

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.


  1. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/securite-safety/covid-19-info/covid-19-visite-visit