Use of Member’s Own Vehicle to Drive Students to Board-Sponsored Events
A member cannot be required to "volunteer" his/her own vehicle for a field trip or board-sponsored event. The board is responsible for hiring drivers or school buses, or for arranging any other form of reasonable transportation for the students.
It is ETFO's advice that members should not volunteer to drive students to or from field trips or board-sponsored activities. There are many reasons for this.
Insurance Coverage and Liability
By volunteering to drive, the member is assuming a risk above and beyond the normal risk associated with teaching, and with supervising field trips.
If there is an accident, the member may be sued in his/her own name, and his/her own insurance would be implicated.
The member could be held personally liable to a student if an accident occurs, and there is insufficient insurance coverage.
The board’s insurance will not necessarily cover a member in the event of an accident. Whether or not the member's own insurance would cover such an accident, if a successful claim were made against the member, his/her premiums would rise and he/she may be uninsurable in the future.
If a member drives students to and from events in a personal vehicle, the member may expose himself or herself to allegations of improper behaviour in the vehicle.
In these circumstances, ETFO may not provide coverage for the member. It has been ETFO's long standing advice that members must not volunteer their own vehicles, or drive students around either during, or after, school hours.
If a member is in an accident, and becomes injured while driving students, a legal question arises as to whether the activity was "in the course of his/her duties." The member may not be covered by Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments.
Advice to Members
ETFO advises that:
Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416- 962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice