May 31, 2020
To the Ontario climbing community,
We want to recognize that these are difficult and unprecedented times. We understand that you are anxious to climb again, and we miss climbing too. However it is very important that we all follow government and public health guidelines to ensure as safe a return as possible.
In our May 17th statement, we confirmed that the remainder of the 2019-2020 competition season is cancelled, and that we will not schedule any new events until it is permitted and safe to do so. At this time, we are not planning any events until best practices and guidelines are released for the safe return to sport and competitions.
Ontario remains under a state of emergency until at least June 9th. As part of Phase 1 of the government’s reopening Framework, a limited number of essential businesses are now allowed to open (see here for the list).
Under paragraph 34.4 of the list, certain sport facilities are permitted to reopen for the purpose of training amateur or professional athletes. However, such facilities must be members of a provincial sport organization (PSO) recognized by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. As we said in our earlier statement, the OCF is not a recognized PSO at this time. Therefore paragraph 34.4 does not apply to the OCF and our members. The Ministry has confirmed this in writing.
An OCF membership is completely separate from the membership an individual might have at their local climbing gym. An OCF athlete membership entitles the member to register for our sanctioned events, an OCF coach membership is required to coach at our competitions, and OCF supporter memberships are available to those who want to support our activities as a volunteer-led, non-profit organization. Under our current structure, we do not offer any club or facility memberships.
OCF membership does not grant any rights to climb at a specific gym other than as part of an OCF sanctioned event. Furthermore, our insurance only covers climbing at our events and competitions; it does not cover private facilities or our members climbing there outside of OCF events.
While we continue to collaborate with and support Ontario climbing gyms, we are unable to authorize gym reopenings. Climbing gyms are independent businesses, and the OCF does not regulate or oversee their operations. Ontario gym owners are working hard to ensure that they meet the guidelines set out by the provincial government and will reopen when it is appropriate and lawful to do so, independent of the OCF.
The final events of our 2019-2020 season were held in early March, and we held our Annual General Meeting this past weekend to close out our season. What the 2020-2021 season will look like (# events, format, dates), and our Return to Competition protocols, will be determined when there is more COVID-clarity.
Thank you to the Ontario climbing community for your continued support during these uncertain times. As more information becomes available, we will keep all of you up to date. We can’t wait to see you all again in person once it is safe to do so.
The OCF Board