The excerpted artic was written by Emily Senger · CBC News 

A Royal Canadian Legion branch northeast of Edmonton is crying foul after its insurance provider blocked it from renting space to Alberta Health Services for COVID-19 testing, costing it thousands of dollars in much-needed revenue during the pandemic.

The dispute between Wawanesa Insurance and the St. Paul Branch 100 began in September, when AHS approached the legion hoping to rent its building for one year to use as a COVID-19 testing centre, said Harold Lefevere, who manages rentals and maintenance for the building.

“We were interested in that because of the situation right now, we have no income,” Lefevere said.

The regular suppers, bar nights and community events that usually generate income have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Casino and bingo fundraisers are also on pause.

AHS staff toured the building before negotiating a rental fee of $5,000 per month, Lefevere said.

The plan, as proposed by AHS, was to rent out 3,000 square feet of space and have a maximum of 12 people in the building, with testing stations 12 feet apart, Lefevere said.

Legion members would not be using the space at all.

AHS sent Lefevere a contract, which he ran past the legion’s lawyer and insurance broker to make sure everything checked out.

It did not check out.

“Wawanesa came back and said, ‘Absolutely not. We will not accept anything with the name COVID on it,'” Lefevere said.

“It was a surprise to us because we’ve never had a claim and never had a problem. Our loyalty has been there, for the last 20 years, but they said it doesn’t matter.”

The legion could not sign its agreement with AHS.

Shelly Willsey, an AHS spokesperson, said it’s the only time she knows of where an insurance company has denied coverage for COVID-19 testing.




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