Special Events (Volunteers)

There are some legal liabilities to consider when your business hosts a special event. 

​Often, organizations are involved in special events either as the event manager/operator or as an event sponsor. Non-profit organizations may rely heavily on special events for fundraising. 

All organizations should be aware of the many risks associated with special events, including:

  • Injury risks. Employees, volunteers, persons who attend the event, etc., may be injured during the event. Special events often include high-risk activities such as alcohol service, fireworks, children's rides or games, etc.
  • Reputation risks. If situations are not handled well, the organization's reputation may be damaged.
  • Financial risks. Events usually require a large amount of funding. If events for non-profits are not administered with care, this may affect the amount of financial support that a non-profit receives in the future.
  • Legal Liability. As an occupier of a premise, you and your organization are responsible for the safety of those who attend a special event. Occupiers must protect patrons from all foreseeable harm. Extra precautions must be taken if:
    • Alcohol is served.
    • Children/minors are in attendance.
    • Dangerous or hazardous activities are undertaken such as fireworks, boating and some sports.
    • Gambling is involved.
    • Large crowds are in attendance.

Applicable permits should always be obtained from your municipal and/or provincial government to reduce liability risks that relate to violations involving permits. Your insurance will not pay for fines. Health requirements should also be followed. Contact your local government for more information regarding your responsibilities when hosting special events. 

You should also contact your insurance representative with details about the event. He or she can determine if your existing coverage is adequate for the event and provide any certificates of insurance that you may be required to furnish as the occupier of rented premises. 


Source: Compiled with Canadian Risk Intervention Inc.