Q. What is the ACMG doing to help its members during the COVID-19 crisis?
A. The ACMG is working on several fronts to assist members. Here is the snapshot of what's going on:
- We have established a firstname.lastname@example.org for members to contact if they have any questions relating to the situation arising from COVID-19
- We've struck a communications work group that is responsible for getting as much information out to members regarding financial assistance, land manager restrictions, policy changes etc.
- We've struck a community work group that is responsible for developing a series of things that will help keep the ACMG community interested and engaged during a time of relative isolation
- We are keeping tabs on the various types of government assistance and putting out this information in a concise location on the website
- We are looking at ensuring that there are mental health resources in place should members feel the negative impacts of isolation for too long
ACMG Related Questions
A. The ACMG believes that members should be compliant with the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Members should not resume guiding work until that agency has identified that the COVID-19 virus is no longer an issue.
A. The MCR is an amazing tool for members of the public to get close to real-time conditions from guiding professionals. However, we believe that we would not be modelling good practice if we encouraged people to travel to recreate. The MCR will still be used for outdoor-related public safety announcements and ACMG safety information posts and will be returned to its normal function and format once the COVID-19 crisis is no longer an ongoing issue.
A. Yes, you may continue to purchase permits as usual. Until you have your actual permit in hand, we will keep you updated on how land managers are faring on the permit renewals with their reduced work hours and closures. Contact Janet at email@example.com for more specific questions.
A. It's up to you to make the business decision on whether, where and when to spend your money, but we would encourage you to get your insurance in place so that you're ready to go. If members try to purchase all at once, it will take longer to process. If you are in a rush at that point, we may not be able to meet your deadline.
A. We typically don't give refunds on insurance since we have to pay our broker up front. However, should you find yourself in very dire financial straits, contact Peter, the Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation.
Business Related Questions
A. Here's a link to a summary of the current government assistance available to business owners that we have gathered. It is a rapidly evolving environment, so check back for updates.
If you have questions about eligibility or applying, please contact email@example.com and we'll see if we can help you figure it out.
A. There are two areas to consider:
1. Your reputation
2. Legal perspective
Many operations are offering credit for future trips, which, if acceptable to the guest, is a good way to hang onto both the cash and your reputation as a trustworthy businessperson. If this doesn't work for your guest, choosing not to offer a refund may well hurt your future prospects not only with that guest, but everyone in that person's communication circle. It's a definite financial blow, but you need to think and prepare for when the COVID situation is over.
The legalities depend on the refund policy that you have created for your company. Guests who have signed on to your trip either tacitly or explicitly agree to your terms. This is a contract and is binding on all parties unless there is agreement by both parties to alter those terms. The fact that the pandemic was largely unforeseeable suggests that there is room for change to those terms, but agreement from both sides is both required and a good idea if you want to see that guest again.
Deposits for future services have, by definition, a refundable component, often with some percentage held back for covering administrative costs. An outright refusal to refund a deposit would have to have been clearly written into any terms of service.
If you don't have a specific refund policy, then you are largely free to do what your conscience tells you, but you might expect to go to small claims court if your decision seems patently unfair to your guest. Note that it's reasonable to keep at least a portion of deposit money if you have had pre-trip disbursements such as lodge rental or have done work that you can put a value on to prepare for the trip.
The ACMG has access to legal counsel who can provide advice in broad terms on matters such as these. If you let us know your question, we can prepare a response to post on our COVID resource pages on the website so that others may benefit from the information. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question.
Mental Health Questions
A. All the people on the list are professionals who understand the activities and culture of the ACMG and who have agreed to work with us. It's important to recognize that a good fit between you and your counsellor is critical. If you aren't comfortable with the person you find, don't hesitate to check out another.
A. The ACMG has some limited funding through the Simon Parboosingh Fund. If you feel the need, we can set you up to speak with the ACMG Executive Director who works with the counsellor to determine the number of recommended visits and set up a confidential billing process for 2-5 visits. If more are required and there is sufficient money, more funding may be granted. Only the ED and the counsellor will know who you are.
Thank you to our partners for their excellent support and commitment to professional guiding in Canada.