The plaintiff in this case was injured while playing in a soccer
league operated by the Ontario Soccer Association
("OSA"). The plaintiff alleged that, as financial
sponsors of the OSA, the defendants had a duty to inquire into and
ensure that both the OSA and soccer field owner had sufficient
insurance to cover health care and rehabilitation expenses in the
event of an accident.
The financial sponsors brought a motion to dismiss the claim on
the basis that, as mere financial sponsors, they owed no duty of
care to the plaintiff. The motions judge agreed with the financial
sponsors reasoning that they had only purchased the right to
display their logos and names on the OSA website and at soccer
fields and concluding that this is no different than purchasing
advertising in other forms of media. This decision is consistent
with previous case law confirming that financial sponsorship of an
activity does not create a sufficiently close relationship between
the sponsor and participants to establish a duty of care. However,
the motions judge noted that financial sponsorship can be
distinguished from more direct forms of involvement in the
activity, such as where a party is implicated in the actual
organization or execution of the activity. In such cases, it would
be best to implement measures to both reduce the risk and
consequences of liability for injuries sustained by participants,
for example; by having participants sign a waiver and ensuring
appropriate insurance coverage.
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