Row Ontario is here to support our member clubs and rowers as we navigate our way through this unprecedented crisis. We have developed this page as a way for the Ontario rowing community to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the COVID-19 virus and how they impact rowing throughout Ontario. We will be updating this page as necessary as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
COVID-19 in Ontario
The Province of Ontario continues to closely monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current legislation for Ontario combined with the approved sanctioned activities from RCA (below) set the rules for rowing in our province. We are monitoring the changing situation and Row Ontario is committed to keeping our members up to date.
The current legislation can be found on the government website here:
The current COVID-19 Response Framework in Ontario can be found here (updated Nov. 13):
Additional announcements from the provincial government are available here:
Group Indoor Activity
As of Monday, Oct. 26, group indoor ergometer programming will be considered sanctioned by RCA. This is part of RCA’s phased approach to lifting restrictions on sanctioned activity, under the guidance of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilkinson.
All Ontario clubs must abide by their local, provincial and federal public health guidelines when making decisions and assessments related to the programming they offer. Within Ontario there are areas with regional and/or local restrictions in place which may impact either group size and/or the distance required between ergs. Prior to starting indoor programming at your club, please make sure that you are in compliance with your local, regional and provincial regulations and restrictions in addition to RCA’s requirements.
Use of Ergometers – Group Indoor Rowing
Member organizations must ensure the following requirements are adhered to:
- The 2m physical distancing rule applies at all times.
- Ergometers must be placed with at least 2m of space between each in all directions. The 2m should be measured “elbow to elbow” when side-by-side and from the front of an ergometer to maximal “lay back” of the ergometer immediately in front. This spacing applies. to any venue: club training room, event venue, etc. Ergometer placement visual.
- The individual using the ergometer is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the ergometer and the floor space.
- Slides to create team boat slides are not permitted.
- Group ergometer sessions should only be held in well-ventilated rooms. Member organizations should seek advice from experts in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) if necessary.
- The use of additional fans during group ergometer sessions is discouraged.
- Similar to outdoor training protocols, individuals participating in indoor group ergometer sessions must be the same individuals each time.
- The number of individuals together during indoor group ergometer sessions must not exceed gathering limits for indoor recreational/fitness as determined by the region/province. RCA strongly recommends that the maximum size be limited as much as possible to manage risk. Contact Row Ontario or RCA if you require assistance to understand gathering limits.
Other Indoor Activity
- For other forms of indoor activity (e.g. stationary bikes, weights, circuits), each area should occupy at least 4 square meters and the 2m distancing rule remains in force.
- Cleaning and sanitizing equipment must be completed between users.
Additional Information and Considerations
- Member organizations that do not already have a completed RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool on record must contact RCA prior to offering Group Indoor Activity.
- Member organizations are not obligated to offer additional programming beyond their current capacity, and both Row Ontario and RCA expect participants to support the decisions of club leaders.
- Member organizations should ensure that refund policies are clearly communicated in all advertisements for new programming. Due to COVID-19, RCA fees will be refunded for programs that are cancelled prior to the start date.
- Member organizations should be prepared to respond to modified phases/stages as announced by local and provincial governments and health agencies.
(Please Note: Provincial regulations regarding permitted activities and numbers vary under the Ontario government’s colour coded chart. While the below activities are sanctioned by RCA, your club is responsible for ensuring you are following the guidelines based on your region’s current colour code.)
Under the guidance of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilkinson, RCA is proceeding with a phased approach to lifting restrictions on sanctioned activity. RCA is responsible for determining which activities are currently sanctioned and therefore covered under RCA insurance.
RCA, in partnership with Row Ontario, has worked to lift restrictions on sanctioned activity through a provincially customized approach in line with changing provincial regulations and with our interpretation of how they apply to rowing.
RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist Tool
To support clubs in their planning and ability to prepare to reopen, RCA has designed a RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist Tool. This resource is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and was developed in collaboration with RCA’s Chief Medical Officer, national partners and Provincial Rowing Associations.
Clubs are expected to complete the tool to determine their Club Risk Assessment Score. RCA will not sanction activity, and thus not provide insurance coverage, for a club that has a HIGH RISK or VERY HIGH RISK score.
The Mitigation Checklist includes expectations that are considered mandatory, highly recommended, or enhanced. At a minimum, clubs must ensure that all mandatory expectations are met to ensure their activity is sanctioned and thus covered with RCA insurance. Clubs that require support to meet a mandatory expectation or want to request an exception to a mandatory expectation should complete this form.
Completion of the tool does not in itself grant permission for reopening. Clubs must abide by their local, provincial and federal guidelines when making decisions and assessments for reopening.
Key Considerations for Return to Rowing:
- Clubs must complete a Risk Assessment Tool and Mitigation Checklist and maintain a copy for their records.
- Activity will not be sanctioned by RCA at clubs that have a HIGH RISK or VERY HIGH RISK Assessment Score. Accordingly, RCA insurance coverage will not be provided.
- All participants must be registered in the RCA Web Registration System before participating in any rowing program.
- RCA guidelines and tools may change at any time to align with health authorities.
- The Risk Assessment Tool and Mitigation Checklist is for Return to Rowing Club Program activity on water and does not apply to dry land training or associated facilities, or for delivery of regattas.
- Any individual that chooses to row outside of sanctioned club activities does so at their own risk. They will not have coverage provided by RCA insurance.
- Owners of private equipment should continue to respect facility access restrictions as issued by local government and/or the club.
Current RCA Sanctioned Activity for Ontario (From the RCA website)
|Approved Sanctioned Activity||Additional Information||Effective Date|
|1X for experienced rowers||May 19, 2020|
|2X/- for experienced rowers||June 29, 2020|
|1X for those new to rowing||July 20, 2020|
|2X for those new to rowing with an experienced rower from the same household||July 20, 2020|
|Provincial Specific Sanctioned Activity|
|1X, 2X/-,4X/4+/4-, 8+ for experienced and those new to rowing who are contained within a cohort and where necessary, a rowing circle||Rowing Circle* not to exceed 15 people.||September 14, 2020|
|Cohort* size not to exceed 100 individuals. RCA recommends that cohort size be limited as much as possible to manage risk.|
|A maximum of 100 individuals who are physically distancing (maintaining 2m of distance) are allowed on site (50 is maximum inside at one time). The number may need to be smaller, dictated by site size to allow the required space for 2m physically distancing.|
|*Rowing Circle: A defined number of individuals who regularly are rowing together and come within 2m of each other while participating in rowing activities. Each rowing circle could contain crew with substitutes, coxie and coaches depending on your program design and set up.|
|*Cohort: A defined number of individuals who interact with each other within the rowing environment while maintaining physical distancing of 2m at minimum. The cohort should only include the same individuals. Cohorts may have multiple rowing circles operating within them as well as individual rowers.|
Additional Information and Considerations
- Clubs must have a completed RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool on record, however they are NOT required to update it with provincial specific lifting of RCA restrictions on sanctioned activity. Clubs must update their own protocols to reflect any new changes.
- Clubs should ensure that refund policies are clearly communicated in all advertisements for new programming. RCA fees will be refunded for programs that are cancelled prior to their start date due to COVID-19.
- Clubs should continue to offer dedicated “safe” training time for High Risk individuals as outlined in the RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool.
- RCA is the authoritative body for what is considered RCA sanctioned activity however clubs must also abide by their local, provincial and federal public health guidelines when making decisions and assessments related to the programming they offer.
- RCA encourages our clubs to continue applying diligence in your planning. Clubs are not obligated to offer additional programming beyond their current capacity and we expect participants to support the decisions of club leaders.
Row Ontario Best Practices for Reopening Tool
This tool is designed to support club work in preparing procedures for following COVID-19 protocols. This is a template and each club’s situation is unique and could require further procedures. All clubs are first required to complete the RCA Risk Assessment and Mitigation Tool.
All club approved procedures are subject to change due to Provincial or local Municipal Regulations and those will take precedence.
This tool has been built with input from Rowing Canada, the Ontario legislative requirements including Ministry of Labour and Public Health Advisories and some Ontario rowing clubs. A special acknowledgement to Doug Rourke from the Georgian Bay Rowing Club for his work leading to the development of this tool.
Row Ontario Recommendations for Clubs
Please find below a list of recommendations to assist with club stability throughout the COVID-19 crisis:
- Build multiple financial budgets and contingency plans. The unpredictable nature of this crisis should have you planning for multiple scenarios; best case, worst case, and somewhere in between.
- Review current authority/ decisions making practices and put in place contingency plans in the event decision makers become incapacitated.
- Look out for each other and communicate with your members to keep them up to date on the latest developments within your club.
- Ensure your club is following the ongoing legislation requirements around operations, not only those related to COVID. These include ongoing health and safety, concussions, and employee training. Additionally, the organization will have to host their AGM within the regulations provided (Traditional Spring AGM’s have until October 22nd in most cases).
- Contact COAST Manager Lisa Roddie for any questions about your AGM.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Resources
To help aid financial burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has implemented some economic support programs for businesses. Here are some programs and their links that may be of relevance to rowing clubs in Ontario:
Canada Emergency Business Account – available until Dec. 31, 2020
(Note organizations apply directly with their regular financial institution)
Any questions regarding these programs can be directed to Coast Manager Lisa Roddie.
Workplace Safety and Prevention During COVID-19
These resources have been prepared in partnership with the Government of Ontario:
- Business Resources
- Helpful Tips and Tools
- COVID-19 Information and Infection Control
- Mental Health
- Work Remotely
- This resource has specific guidelines about marina operations. There are similarities to club operations, however clubs will need to address other additional issues.
Row Ontario COVID-19 Member Club Town Halls
Row Ontario will be periodically holding conference calls for Ontario member clubs in order to update them on the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis and how it impacts the Ontario rowing community. The synopsis from each call can be found below:
Resources – Rowing Clubs
Waiver Template (Sourced from RCA)
Assumption of Risk Template (Sourced from RCA)
Risk Assessment to Club Continuity and Recovery (Sourced from RCA)
Resources – General Health
COVID-19 Exposure at Your Club
- An individual at your club has a positive COVID-19 test.
- An individual at your club has been advised by Public Health to quarantine or be tested as they have been in close contact with an individual who has a positive COVID-19 test or confirmed COVID-19 illness.
Row Ontario Office
With all Canadians being urged to limit social interactions and work from home where possible, all Row Ontario staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future. We will not be able to take phone calls to our office number but are still available via email during working hours. You can find the contact information for all Row Ontario staff below as well as our areas of responsibility so you know who to direct questions to. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Chief Executive Officer: Andrew Backer
Strategic Planning, Grant Applications, Board and Committee Governance, Financial Operations, Human Resources, Risk Management and Revenue Generation
COAST Manager: Lisa Roddie
COAST Program – Club Operations & Governance Support
Director, Rowing Pathways & Performance: Chris Marshall
Athlete Development (Flatwater, Para & Coastal); Provincial Development Teams – including Canada Summer Games team; High Performance Partnership Management; Quest for Gold—Ontario Athlete Assistance Program (OAAP)
Manager, Communications & Community Engagement: Frank Christie
Website Management; Social Media; Row Ontario Communications – including monthly newsletter; Community Engagement; Media Relations; Branding; Annual Club Membership and Participant registration.
Manager, Events & Sport Development: Stephen Ross
Planning, logistics, and delivery for all Row Ontario hosted regattas; Liaising with and supporting the Row Ontario Sanctions Officer and Sanctions Committee; Ensuring alignment between the athlete development pathway and Row Ontario’s competition strategy; Managing the planning and delivery of the Row Ontario conference.
Coordinator, High Performance & Administration: Greta Chase
Accounts payable and receivables; Member club tracking and invoicing; High performance program travel, logistics, entries & team uniforms; Regatta auditing support; Administrative support.