Insurance woes abound
By Taha Suria and Anton Vidgen
Insurance woes have left the University Students’ Council
and the clubs system reeling, but student unions across the
province have encountered similar problems in renewing their
The Lakehead University Student Union has been one of the
hardest hit by the insurance companies’ new changes.
“It’s been a major problem; premiums have increased
by 275 per cent,” explained Josh Tolmie, VP-finance for
Lakehead’s student union. Tolmie added the campus establishment
was responsible for a significant amount of the increase in
the insurance premium due to the fact it bears high risk.
According to Tolmie, the USU’s insurance company has
also expressed an interest in seeing Lakehead’s student
union disassociate itself with the student-run clubs and also
with a student crisis hotline run by the union. “It’s
a robbery, we have no choice,” he remarked. “It’s
a big scam.”
USC President Paul Yeoman said the student union at McGill
University was forced to close down their main student building
for a significant amount of time due to a problem with their
insurance. “It’s quite a bad situation to be in
because essentially all of the student union’s services
and operations would not be able to be delivered.”
Students at Trent University can drink alcohol in campus bars,
even though the student union has no alcohol insurance, said
Dwayne Collins, president of the Trent Central Student Association.
This is because the union runs their pubs jointly with the
university’s administration, which takes care of alcohol-related
liability, he explained.
The University of Ottawa’s Student Federation suffered
a 30 per cent increase in their insurance premiums, said Rachid
Naleo, VP-finance for the federation. But in the midst of rising
costs, Naleo said his student union is not expecting any significant
reduction in the number of activities that are going to be
The University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students
has also experienced a significant hike in their insurance
premium, according to Chris Edey, the federation’s president.
But unlike Western, they have not been required to stop sanctioning
off-campus alcohol-related events, he added.
Nipissing University’s Student Union also experienced
a small increase in their insurance premium, according to Wilson
Abreu, president of the university’s student union. However,
with regards to alcohol-related events, Abreu said they are
trying to avoid the issue altogether. “As a student group
we are trying to move away from events with alcohol anyway,” he