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North Battleford looking into SUMA resolution on content insurance

Issue was noticed during Mayor David Gillan’s discussions with displaced tenants of 102nd Street fire.
NB City Hall 5
North Battleford could draft and submit a resolution to the SUMA convention in April.

NORTH BATTLEFORD ‑‑ The city of North Battleford is looking to sponsor a resolution at the upcoming Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention to address the issue of content insurance.

What the city is considering is a resolution where renters are made aware they need to take out tenants' insurance. 

The exact wording would need to be drafted and then approved by council, and then submitted to SUMA's resolution committee to possibly go to the floor at their resolution session during the April convention. The window is currently open for municipalities to submit resolutions.

Mayor David Gillan raised the issue at council Monday and explained it stemmed from his discussions with victims who lost all their belongings in the massive Jan. 3 apartment fire on the 1400 block of 102nd Street. 

Gillan said he discovered many of the tenants did not have contents insurance. When the tenants were asked why, Gillan said many responded that they didn’t know.

“They didn’t know to take out insurance. They had the false understanding that the landlord had insurance for their contents and they would be covered under his or her insurance.”

“To listen to people’s stories of having nothing and starting over — it took me back a lot.”

He suggested there is much information tenants aren’t getting from their landlords and “it’s putting them in a jeopardized position.” He suggested bringing a SUMA resolution to not necessarily require everyone to have insurance, but requiring landlords to inform people about buying insurance. 

Councillor Bill Ironstand responded he thought a SUMA resolution was a great idea. He also made the point that a factor was that people in the apartment building were on programs and struggled to make ends meet.

“Sadly, that is the reality of the situation and that is a huge reason why a lot of people do not have content insurance.”

Gillan noted he had contacted Government Relations to see if there was any requirement out there, “and the answer is no, it’s not mandatory.” It would fall under the Residential Tenancies Act and there was nothing about tenants' insurance in the act, he said.

Gillan suggested working with administration to draft wording, and then have it come to council.