Canada’s Film & TV Industry Presents Unique Insurance Solution with Government Support

The excerpted article was written by Manori Ravindran | Variety

Canada’s production community is working towards a bespoke insurance solution as the country looks to jumpstart production after it ground to a halt in March amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Variety can reveal that producers’ trade body, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), is developing a proposal for a “market-based solution” that asks the federal government to serve as a backstop for coronavirus insurance claims.

An update from the CMPA sent to producers on Monday and seen by Variety details a plan in which producers would pay premiums to access COVID-19 coverage, which would then go into “a dedicated pot to pay for potential claims.”

“The government would only contribute financially if the funds generated [through] the sale of the policies was insufficient to cover the claims made,” reads the memo.

In Canada, like most other countries, insurers are refusing COVID-19 coverage for the production sector. “Left unaddressed, this would mean the financial consequences associated with another industry-wide shutdown, or an on-set COVID-19 incident, would fall primarily to the producer,” said the CMPA, warning that the repercussions of these scenarios would be “potentially devastating” to the sector and threaten its prospects of a smooth restart.

The org has now raised the insurance issue with the government and is to submit a “detailed proposal” in the coming days, outlining what it calls an “industry-wide solution.”

A CMPA spokesperson told Variety: “Without the availability of insurance policies to cover future COVID-19 risks, most production in Canada will not resume. A government-backstopped insurance program will provide confidence to the marketplace, encouraging insurers to offer COVID-19 coverage, allowing producers to purchase policies, and ultimately allowing Canada’s production sector to re-open, once it is safe to do so.”

In recent weeks, the CMPA has hinted at plans to develop a “made-in-Canada solution” to cover productions post-shutdown. The group has been examining international insurance solutions, such as France’s indemnity fund — a $54 million fund that will cover up to 20% of a project’s budget and work on a case-by-case basis — as well as programs being proposed in the U.K. and other territories.

The CMPA said previously that it was also looking at tax credits, shared risk pools and government liability protections.

As revealed by Variety last week, the U.K. recently submitted a proposal to the government for a guarantee around coverage of suspension or abandonment costs relating to COVID-19. This could manifest in the form a government-backed fund that may amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.

The CMPA estimated in April that Canada’s production shutdown put around 172,000 jobs at risk, and could ultimately cost the Canadian film and TV sector — whose service industry supports myriad Hollywood shoots in provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario — around CAD$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in both domestic and foreign production dollars if it continues until the end of June.

There is, however, finally some light at the end of the tunnel, with the first signs of production resuming post-shutdown. Manitoba became the first province to allow its production sector to restart as of Monday, with local soundstages opening back up for business.

The first wave of renewed production in Canada is expected to focus on domestic projects due to the limitations posed by mandatory quarantine periods for inbound travel, making it tricky for any international projects, particularly U.S. studios, looking to shoot up north.

Source: Read more articles like this at Variety

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CMPA proposes ‘industry-wide solution’ to insurance conundrum

The excerpted article was written by

Source: Realscreeen

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) is in the process of developing a proposal that, if accepted, would see the federal government serve as a backstop for COVID-19 insurance claims.

Under the proposed solution – a detailed version of which will be submitted to the federal government in the coming days – producers would pay premiums for COVID-19 insurance coverage, which would go toward a funding pot designated for potential claims. The government would only be called upon to contribute financially if the funds generated through the sale of the COVID-19 policies was insufficient to cover the claims made, said the CMPA.

Since the production shutdown in mid-March, insurance companies have changed their coverage options so that claims related to COVID-19 (and communicable diseases more generally) are not covered. Across North America, the insurance industry as a whole is counting billions in losses and pending claims stemming from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The CMPA is acutely aware that insurance companies are not offering COVID-19 coverage for the production sector at this time. Left unaddressed, this would mean the financial consequences associated with another industry-wide shutdown, or an on-set COVID-19 incident, would fall primarily to the producer. This would be potentially devastating to our sector and a significant barrier to the start up or resumption of production for many of our members,” read a statement from the CMPA. The association said it will also be reaching out to a “wide range of industry stakeholders to confirm broad support for this initiative.”

What remains unclear is how much producers would pay for the proposed premiums for COVID-19 coverage, and how much money would be in the pot. It is also likely that the government would need projections on how much a future production shutdown would cost before it committed to backstopping insurance claims related to COVID-19. (It should be noted that outside of exclusions for COVID-19 and/or communicable diseases, Canadian film and TV projects are still able to obtain insurance for production.)

While the implementation of on-set safety protocols and guidelines has dominated much of the discussion for the past two and a half months, the issue of how to resume production in the absence of insurance for COVID-19 has largely been viewed as the film and TV industry’s biggest obstacle, especially for higher-budgeted series, such as scripted dramas, that typically require larger casts and crews.

It is not simply a production issue, as bank loans, interim financing and financing contracts are typically contingent on the presence of insurance, making it all but impossible for independent Canadian projects TV projects to resume until a resolution has been found. It is supposed that unscripted projects and documentaries (which typically have smaller budgets and can be shot with smaller crews) will be able to navigate insurance issues more easily, however a clear route back to production has not been outlined for the unscripted or doc sectors in Canada either.

Other jurisdictions have proposed similar measures that would see the government acting as a backstop for COVID-19 insurance claims. Last week, the UK industry put forth a proposal that would see the government help cover the costs of shutdowns related to COVID-19. Other proposals have been put forth in Australia, France and elsewhere to help jumpstart the local production sectors, which are grappling with the same issues as Canada. In the state of New York, a proposal was floated last month that would also see the government backstopping insurance claims.

The unveiling of CMPA’s insurance proposal comes as Canadian provinces begin to release the guidelines for on-set processes in the age of COVID-19. Manitoba was the first province to release full details of its protocols, while Quebec also released its own guidelines yesterday. Other provinces, including Ontario, are expected to follow suit in the next week or two.

Previously the CMPA said it expects the production shutdown will mean at least a $2.5-billion shortfall in production spending ($773-million for Canadian content, $1.76 billion for the service economy) if film sets remain closed until June 31.

Dysfunction in long term care takes toll on overburdened workforce

 

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Conditions in long-term care are breaking the people who staff nursing and retirement homes, leading to worse care for the vulnerable seniors who live there, the head of the Canadian Support Workers Association said.

About 82 per cent of the more than 6,800 COVID-19 deaths in Canada have been linked to long-term care, shining a harsh light on an industry that was already in crisis.

Miranda Ferrier, president of the association, said she read the military reports about cases of abuse and neglect in Ontario and Quebec long-term care homes with the same disgust and anger as other Canadians.

Military members called in to help homes with COVID-19 outbreaks witnessed some staff seemingly ignoring residents’ cries for help for up to two hours, and force-feeding residents to the point of choking, along with many other medical and professional problems.

While Ferrier said there is no excuse for that behaviour, there are reasons for it. Personal support workers are breaking under a neglected system, she said.

“I’m a (personal support worker) too and I worked in long-term care for years, and I’m broken,” Ferrier said.

Another former Ontario personal support worker, who now works as a long-term care nurse, said the massive workload means she is forced to choose which residents will be neglected.

She spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition she be granted anonymity due to fear of facing repercussions at work.

“Just to make it through the shift you have to dehumanize the people,” she said.  “I have to walk past this person who’s yelling and try not to let it get to me.”

She said she and her co-workers try to do their best every day but it’s hard to look at herself knowing that she didn’t get to everyone.

“You feel like you’re drowning all day,” she said.

Many people have pointed the finger at support workers for the conditions in the homes, and Ferrier said she’s received several calls along those lines in recent days. But those people don’t understand that the workers are also victims, and have been for a long time, she said.

“They have no idea what’s going on in those homes. It’s totally unfair. I just think it’s totally unfair and it just makes me sick,” she said.

The profession is completely unregulated, workers are underpaid and typically underprepared for the huge workload, risks and mental, emotional and physical exhaustion associated with the job, she said.

“Many of them have developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of the load in long-term care, even pre-pandemic,” she said.

Statistics from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board show support workers were six times more likely to be injured on the job than a police officer or firefighter in 2017, she said.

There’s no official accreditation needed to become a personal support worker. Most enter the homes having completed a one-year certificate program, eager to help people, but that’s difficult to do with a ratio of as many as 12 residents to one worker.

This is to say nothing of the lack of benefits and job security that has workers trying to cobble together enough hours at several long-term care homes to make a living.

That makes it hard to recruit people to the job.

“You get what you pay for, unfortunately,” she said.

It’s difficult to gather information about who these workers are, but the University of Alberta’s Translating Research in Elder Care program estimates many are immigrants or people of colour, and the jobs are overwhelmingly staffed by women.

The federal and provincial governments have stepped in to provide temporary wage increases to long-term care workers who have suddenly been deemed essential during the pandemic, but conditions have far from improved, Ferrier said.

The Canadian Support Workers Association has been trying to shine a light on the issues for years, and has called for those workers to be licensed, regulated and accredited as a step toward fixing long-term care.

Ferrier said she is now in talks with the Ontario government to create some kind of recognized regulatory body for personal support workers, but can’t say if or when the change will come.

 

Insurance Policies, 1 Insured: Who Defends The Action, Who Pays The Costs Of The Defence, And Who Controls The Defence?

The excepted article was written by

McCague Borlack LLP

This was a dispute between AIG Insurance Company of Canada and Lloyd’s Underwriters in respect of the duty to defend a claim brought against the City of Markham.

The City rented a hockey rink to the Markham Waxers Hockey Club and associated entities. A young boy was injured while attending a game at the hockey rink. He sued the City, Hockey Canada and the Waxers for damages resulting from his injuries. The City was insured by Lloyd’s under a commercial general liability policy. It was also an additional insured to Hockey Canada’s and the Waxers’ insurance policy with AIG. The City and Hockey Canada each retained separate counsel through their respective insurers.

AIG acknowledged its obligation to defend the action on behalf of the City but claimed that Lloyd’s had a concurrent duty to defend and must pay an equitable share of the City’s defence costs. AIG also claimed it had a right to participate in the City’s defence, including the right to retain and instruct counsel, alongside Lloyd’s. The City and AIG brought competing applications to determine which insurers had a duty to defend the action. AIG appealed the application judge’s decision that it must defend the action on behalf of the City, pay the cost of defending the action on behalf of the City and collect any indemnification costs from Lloyd’s upon final conclusion of the action, and may not participate in the defence with separate counsel.

The issues on appeal were whether

  1. Lloyd’s owes the City a concurrent duty to defend,
  2. Lloyd’s must pay an equitable share of the City’s defence costs, and
  3. AIG has the right to participate in the defence, including the right to retain and instruct counsel.

As to the first issue, there was no dispute that AIG is a primary insurer. However, AIG argued that Lloyd’s is also a primary insurer and not an excess insurer, as was argued by the City. The Court of Appeal concluded that because the AIG policy contains no excess provision, AIG is the primary insurer for bodily injury or property damage claims arising from the operations of Hockey Canada and the Waxers up to its $5 million policy limit. Moreover, to the extent that the AIG and Lloyd’s policies cover the same claims, AIG must defend up to its policy limits, and Lloyd’s maybe an excess insurer. However, Lloyd’s must still defend the City against claims that fall outside the scope of the AIG policy and within the scope of its own policy.

As to the second issue, the Court of Appeal concluded that since there was no contract between the two insurers with respect to the defence, the most equitable allocation of the City’s defence costs would be to require AIG and Lloyd’s to each pay an equal share of the City’s defence costs and to adjust the costs as between them after final disposition of the action.

As to the third issue, both insurers’ policies provided that they have a duty and right to defend the action. However, due to the discrepancies in coverage between the two policies of insurance, each insurer alleged various conflicts of interest with respect to the other’s handling of the City’s defence. The Court of Appeal found that AIG has an interest in having liability determined on the basis of the City’s actions alone so that it is not responsible for any damages. The Court likewise found that Lloyd’s and the City have an interest in having liability determined on the basis of the operations of Hockey Canada or the Waxers and not from the actions of the City, so as to minimize their own damages exposure and guard against raising the City’s premiums.

The Court of Appeal, therefore, concluded that both AIG and Lloyd’s owe a duty to defend the City in the action, AIG and Lloyd’s must share the City’s defence costs equally, subject to a right to seek a reallocation of the defence costs at the conclusion of the action, and AIG has a right to participate in the defence, including the right to retain and instruct counsel.

The Court agreed with AIG’s suggestion that it implements a “split file” system to sequester personnel handling the defence of the City from those handling the defence of Hockey Canada and the Waxers. The Court concluded this would ensure that the potentially conflicting interests insured by the AIG policy are handled separately both internally and by separate counsel. However, the Court also instructed that

  1. the terms of this arrangement must be provided in writing to those involved in managing the defence,
  2. counsel appointed by AIG must fully and promptly inform the City and Lloyd’s of all steps taken in the defence of the litigation against the City such that each would be in a position to monitor the defence effectively and address any concerns,
  3. defence counsel must have no discussion about the case with either coverage counsel, and
  4. counsel for the City must provide identical and concurrent reports to the City and both insurers regarding the defence of the main action.

Read the full decision, or the other case study for May –“It’s 2020”: Bringing the Courts in Line with the Times During COVID-19, or go to MB’s index of articles regarding COVID-19.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq News

Singh wants Ottawa to send military allegations of nursing home neglect to RCMP

OTTAWA _ NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he wants to see the RCMP investigate conditions in long-term care homes in Ontario following allegations in a report of neglect and abuse in five homes being helped by the military.

Singh says he has written to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair saying the Canadian Forces’ report on the conditions they found should be referred to the RCMP and, should cases be found of corporate criminal neglect, that criminal charges should be laid.

He called the allegations “appalling” and said Ottawa must take swift actions to address the situation.

He is also calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring the long-term care system under the Canada Health Act, blaming many of the problems in these centres on the for-profit model under which many seniors’ homes in Canada operate.

The military report, prepared after troops were sent into five homes overwhelmed by COVID-19 outbreaks, details “horrific” allegations of insect infestations, aggressive resident feeding that caused choking, bleeding infections, and residents crying for help for hours.

Allegations also included failure to isolate COVID-19-positive patients from the rest of the home and a host of hygiene issues involving everything from contaminated catheters to dangerous pressure ulcers.

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