Excerpted article by CBC News

Some Toronto Community Housing Corporation residents say much-needed programs are in danger because of changes to the corporation’s insurance policy.

Residents were told in a memo that they need $5 million liability insurance for organizations using TCHC spaces.

Neika Lindsay volunteers at the Empringham Mews breakfast club in Malvern, which she says has been feeding hungry kids for four years.

“It’s vital; there are kids walking around with no breakfast,” said Lindsay.

It would be affected by the insurance changes.

The club gets its budget from the Mavern Action for Neighbourhood Change and also gets food donations. Still, Lindsay says, she sometimes spends her own money to keep it running. Lindsay says the insurance changes mean it will cost $50 a day to operate the breakfast club.

“That’s $250 a week. Our budget alone doesn’t even get to $300,” she said. “We just can’t simply afford it.”

The TCHC memo, obtained by CBC News, says private events in common spaces, such as birthday parties, baby showers and memorials also require liability insurance.

“We’re trying to balance the availability of space with the need to protect the corporation and our shareholder – the City of Toronto – from exposure to liability risk,” said Lisa Murray, a manager for the TCH.

Murray says the TCHC common space policy is being reviewed and updated. Residents are being consulted.

She adds that the breakfast club isn’t at risk.

“We’ll work something out. We’re not going to end the program because somebody can’t get insurance,” she said.

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