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Liability insurance for accommodations to stay the same

Barb Shaughnessy of the Inn Keepers Collective spoke to Stratford City Council Monday night. They want more partnership with the City in the future

City of Stratford changed its liability requirement for B&Bs back to $2 million, though local owners want more partnership in the future. 

Barb Shaughnessy, on behalf of the Inn Keepers Collective, addressed Stratford City Council Monday night at a public meeting.

She spoke on the proposed amendments to the Bed and Breakfast Licensing and Accommodation Licensing bylaws. 

At the Feb. 27 meeting, council heard from Karmen Krueger, director of corporate services, who shared that a previous decision to raise the liability insurance for all businesses from $2 million to $5 million would now only be required by businesses directly associated with city property or city services. 

The decision was made after speaking with the City’s insurer and hearing from the public that the blanket amount was not feasible in some cases. In her statement, Shaughnessy said that the accommodators she represents felt ignored by council, as they had been advocating to council for months, prior to the decision.

“Council and staff were told the $5 million insurance coverage was a huge problem (by accommodators),” she said. “Yet the City only acted on Feb. 24 after complaints had been heard from the (wider) business community … Well, I’m sure you could see how it looks to us.”

In the time since the increase was first discussed to now, accommodators had to spend time and take on stress due to the change, she said. Shaugnessy claimed that one B&B even shut its doors for good due to the trouble. 

Shaugnessy closed her statement reiterating that the Inn Keepers Collective is a resource for the City and they should strive to work together. 

Coun. Cody Sebben suggested adding the line “subject to the approval of council,” in regards to when that amount would change in the future, for B&Bs and short term accommodators. 

Council passed the two amendments. 

As Shaughnessy wrapped-up, Mayor Martin Ritsma thanked her for her time and apologized for the stress incurred.