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COVID-19 and Your Events

Empty Venue


Managing the Postponement or Cancellation of Your Event

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for event organizers as federal, provincial, and municipal governments have ushered in containment measures to help manage the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve.” As a result, most live, attended events in Canada have been cancelled or postponed pending a declaration from the Public Health Agency of Canada that it is safe to proceed.

Some would believe that this leaves event organizers with nothing to do until there is a resolution. However, savvy organizers know planning and communicating with all those involved with their event now will position them for success when the pandemic ends and their events are permitted to move forward. Even organizers of events that have been cancelled may be able to obtain some deposit credits and help future annual events succeed by speaking with the other parties involved now.

Organizers who wait too long to take action may encounter issues in safeguarding deposits, rebooking venues, retaining event staff, or attracting attendees. This only highlights the importance of being proactive and keeping communication open between all parties connected to your event.

Please see below for some advice for communicating with all those involved with your event:


  • Review each vendor’s cancellation policy. Discuss credits, if refunds are not possible.
  • Have discussions with each vendor regarding payment schedules. Discuss cancellation or extensions if your event is postponed.
  • Good options might be to suggest promoting a vendor at your event in exchange for their agreement to change the date of your event or offer a refund/partial refund.
  • Ensure any future vendor agreements include cancellation language.


  • Discuss deposit refunds or credits as applicable.
  • Reach out to your venue(s) early regarding rebooking your event. The choice of replacement days will disappear quickly as venues will likely need to accommodate a large number of alternate event dates.
  • Update your scheduled dates on your master plan.
  • Discuss any new precautions/procedures related to COVID-19 concerning the safety of staff and attendees (e.g. sanitization stations).
  • If your venue needs to be changed as a result of a new event date, ensure appropriate risk control measures are in place at the new venue.
  • If you own the venue, and it is currently idle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see our further advice regarding temporarily closed facilities.


  • Provide contact information for additional questions.
  • Remind staff that they may be eligible for support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and to visit the Government of Canada website for more information.
  • Even if you have no immediate update, it is good practice to stay in touch. This promotes familiarity and goodwill for future events.
  • Let potential staff know of rebooked event dates as soon as you are aware to help keep their availability open.
  • Prior to future events, share a safety checklist, outline any additional measures taken to protect staff, and advise staff that full training will be provided as you want to reassure them that their safety is a primary concern.
  • Direct staff to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website for up-to-date information on good hygiene practices to help reduce the spread of infections and viruses.
  • Please also remember that, if you have permanent staff for an event, you may also be eligible for wage subsidies through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Please visit the government site for more information.


  • If possible, provide refunds for cancelled events or a credit option if the event is annual.
  • Provide contact information for additional questions.
  • Stay in regular contact to communicate any news regarding your event.
  • Communicate precautions to be taken at your upcoming event to reassure attendees that it is safe to attend. This includes identifying if facilities such as wash and sanitization stations will be available.

During these difficult times, a lack of social interaction has shed a light on the importance of events in the community and the role they play in our daily lives. Although the current advice is to stay safe and continue to practice social distancing, there will be a time when we are all free to live our lives again with normal social interaction and events.

Regarding insurance, please remember to visit us online for more information regarding event coverage.

You can also choose to complete an online application and get an insurance quote for budget purposes. When your event is safe to proceed, you can access your saved quote and pay for/bind the selected coverage online.

In response to the effect COVID-19 is having on the entire event industry, please remember that if your event has not started and you need to postpone to a later date, we can endorse your policy with new effective/expiry dates. Please contact us for details.

Have more questions regarding your event insurance? Please feel free to reach out to your Marsh Canada Limited licensed insurance broker:

1 888 755 5247 | events.service@marsh.com


This document and any recommendations, analysis, or advice provided by Marsh (collectively, the “Marsh Analysis”) are not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. This document contains proprietary, confidential information of Marsh and may not be shared with any third party, including other insurance producers, without Marsh’s prior written consent. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modelling, analytics, or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty, and the Marsh Analysis could be materially affected if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information, or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Except as may be set forth in an agreement between you and Marsh, Marsh shall have no obligation to update the Marsh Analysis and shall have no liability to you or any other party with regard to the Marsh Analysis or to any services provided by a third party to you or Marsh. Marsh makes no representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wordings or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or re-insurers. Marsh makes no assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage.