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OLBA Contingency Plans for 2020 COVID-19

In the interest of keeping our Athletes, their families and all members of the Ontario community safe the following contingency plans have been decided by the OLBA Board of Directors.


The OLBA Board has decided to suspend all OLBA sanctioned Bowls activities.


This decision was made to reflect the best advice that we are being given from our National and Provincial Health Authorities (It should be noted that Bowls Canada Boulingrin has also cancelled the 2020 National Championships). Any activity bringing groups of people physically together increases the risk and intensity of COVID-19 infection. This applies to lawn bowls, especially given the demographics of our membership. OLBA will continue to monitor and seek Health Authorities’ advice before deciding to lift this suspension.


OLBA sanctioned activities include all Provincial and District Playdowns, all Clinics, Camps and Seminars. Furthermore, OLBA urges all member clubs to restrict activities to grounds keeping and maintenance. We will be publishing guidance on the minimum care needed for greens and how that can be done in a proper, social-distancing manner shortly.


The OLBA Board has waived all club member fees for 2020.


The Board understands that most clubs have fixed costs that have to be met and we urge members to continue to support their club by paying club fees so that our facilities and greens are still there for us to enjoy after this crisis subsides. We will be publishing guidance to club executives with concrete financial suggestions on matters such as grants and municipal concessions.


A revised OLBA budget showing reduced revenues and expenses for certain fixed and unavoidable costs has been prepared for the above contingency. We will also be discussing with our insurance company a reduced rate due to the shortened or cancelled season, however we keep coverage for required greens maintenance at the clubs. The Ministry of Heritage, Tourism, sport and Culture have advised that they will continue to support the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund at existing levels.


The scheduled OLBA Spring meeting in Woodstock is cancelled.


Arrangements are currently underway to provide elections and we are reaching out to Club Presidents and proxies to enable electronic voting for the appointment of both Board members and the Auditors. In lieu of the scheduled AGM meeting OLBA will use our web site, and social media to continue to provide members with ongoing updates. Please check these periodically.


Formation of a COVID-19 Committee.


We have formed a COVID-19 Committee for the purpose of addressing the concerns of clubs and bowlers affected by the public health emergency. Ralph Ellis (Chair) and Nan Hendren have been appointed to ensure Member Clubs are provided with updates on the developments of COVID-19 in a timely manner.


Greens Support.


The Greens committee will be contacting Guelph University and with their assistance will be developing a greens maintenance program to provide guidance to all clubs on the minimum amount of maintenance required to keep them healthy during this period of shutdown.


Bowls Canada plans for 2020 were announced on March 19th, 2020 and are available for your review on their website


On behalf of the OLBA Board please take all necessary precautions to keep healthy and safe.


Yours Sincerely

Phillip Francis 

OLBA President



Instructions for Minimal Maintenance Program


Usually at this time of the year we are getting our greens ready for a busy season. However, with COVID-19 upon us, your lawn bowling clubs will not be opening on time.


As greens keepers, our challenge is that the greens will still need the early-season care.


Many of our clubs have volunteers to look after our greens. In some cases, the city or county is looking after the greens and in the current situation they may not have staff to help you. This will also be the case if you don’t have the equipment to look after your greens as our cities and counties will have other priorities. There are some suggestions for these clubs below.


Here are my suggestions if you have volunteers.

In early April (weather permitting and as soon as the greens are dry and firm enough):

  • Mow: At ¼ inch in height or .210 on the metric gauge
  • Verticut: give it a good verticutting clean up the thatch
  • Fertilize: Apply the day before the weather forecast is for rain. Use high nitrogen (18-8-18)
  • Overseed bare or thin patches now
  • Don’t mow your greens for four or five days, and then mow on a regular schedule to maintain ¼ inch height until the club reopens.
  • Fertilize and Verticut once a month if possible and keep watering as needed. Our clubs will open again your greens will be ready to roll


If you rely on city or county employees for your greens, try the following:

  • See if the city or county will let you borrow their equipment or try to borrow some from a nearby club
  • Involve your District Chairman to see what they can come up with
  • Look for volunteers to step up (Don’t worry we will guide you)

Please don’t let your greens go to seed and weeds. It will take a long time to bring them back and we all want to be able to bowl again after this is over (and it will be over).


Remember your OLBA greens committee is here to help you so don’t worry and call us if you need help. This is your committee. We will update you as things occur.

Charles Roach. Ted Pickles Jan Bauer, Larry McLellan


If you need any help send me an email or call and we will help you . Good luck, good health, stay safe.

Your Greens Chair


Charles Roach


OLBA’s Insurance Protection

OLBA insurance will not cover anyone unless the federal, provincial and municipal health organizations lift their bans on social distancing and OLBA also lifts its ban on sanctioned events.

OLBA insurance allows only 2 persons on the greens at a time for maintenance – not playing.

Contact the relevant authorities for permission before beginning maintenance.  It really depends on how the regulations on essential services are interpreted. If greens maintenance is seen as falling under essential property maintenance under the provincial legislation, then municipalities are more open to maintenance beginning after the emergency orders lift. We are seeing different responses across the province where some municipalities are allowing it and others have a complete shutdown as is the case in Toronto.


Police Background Checks

People may not be able to complete police background checks because many police services are limiting non-essential contact with the public. Don't worry about this. The OLBA board has discussed extending the dates for the reimbursement to clubs for the background checks but we have not settled on a date. We will post additional information after our next monthly meeting.

Please note that Background Checks are still being successfully processed at Sterling Backcheck. See the link below.


Skype Calling for Boards

My club experimented with using Skype for a meeting. Since several of our board members are less technically capable, we went for the lowest technology solution. For a $4 a month subscription, you can make unlimited calls to land lines and cellphones in Canada and that is the plan that I picked up. I have the Skype account and I call my board members' land lines and cell phone, adding them one member at a time. Audio quality is good. You must establish some rules about speaking in turn. Overall, this an easy solution for small groups. Skype can handle up to 50 people, but you would not want this solution for more than a dozen people. If the people on your board all have computers and do not need technical support for things like microphones, speakers, webcams and just using Skype, then calling from one Skype account to another is free. If you have to interrupt your meetings to regularly fix other board member's technical problems, you may prefer the solution where you only use land lines and cellphones.

Other options that you may want to consider are Google Hangouts, Zoom, Cisco Webex and Go To Meeting. Zoom, Cisco Webex and Go To Meeting are better solutions for large groups or AGMs.

Ralph Ellis 



New Horizons Grants and COVID-19

I have had people asking me questions about the status of New Horizons grants. Here are the three key answers.

1. If you are approved for a New Horizons grant from last year, you can reschedule the project as need be because of the current public health emergency. You must contact the government to let them know what you are doing.

2. Don't worry if you have not heard about the results of your application. All non essential services by the government have been shut down. No one has been turned down but the responses will be delayed.

3. The timing for the applications for this year are up in the air. They may go ahead in May and June or they may be delayed.

Be patient and stay healthy. All is good on the grants front.

Ralph Ellis

Below is the letter from the federal government:


New Horizons for Seniors Program

Qs & As - COVID-19



Date Extension


Q: I was approved for an NHSP project, but am concerned about being able to complete it given the current pandemic crisis. Is there anything that can be done to provide our organisation with some flexibility?


A: Given the extraordinary circumstances we are currently experiencing, Service Canada is able to extend the time permitted to conclude a project. Agreements currently provide 12 months for organizations to complete their project, going until March 31, 2021. Should you need, an additional 12 months can be provided to you to complete your project, giving you until March 31, 2022. Please contact your Service Canada representative provided below to discuss the possibility of amending your organisation’s funding agreement to increase the amount of time permitted to complete your project.


Amendment to Activities


Q: Can my organization change the approved project activities to respond to emerging needs related to COVID-19?


A: The purpose of the NHSP is to ensure that seniors can benefit from, and contribute to, the quality of life in their communities. The program provides flexibility to support a broad range of activities. Should you wish to change the activities approved for funding in your 2019-2020 NHSP grant, please communicate with your Service Canada representative. Activities must be eligible and aligned with the program objectives. For this reason, the Department must authorize any change to approved activities.


PO Box 538, Station Don Mills

North York, ON M3C 0N9


Telephone: 1-866-945-7342


Bowls Canada Announces Plans for 2020 Season Due to


Ottawa, ON | March 19, 2020


In consideration of the impact that the COVID-19 virus and in line with advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Bowls Canada Board has made the decision to cancel all Bowls Canada sanctioned events for the 2020 season.

Our priority remains the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, officials, employees, volunteers, fans, partners and all associated with the Bowls Canada family. We have been closely following the situation as it unfolds, following the advice of our federal and various provincial governments, health authorities and the Canadian Sport Medicine Advisory Council. We recognize that many of our members fall into the most at risk demographic and decisions were made with a duty of care to protect all members.


The Bowls Canada Board of Directors held an emergency meeting on Wednesday March 18th where the following decisions were made regarding Bowls Canada sanctioned events and activities.

  • Cancellation of the 2020 National Championships program including the inaugural Para Bowls Championships
  • Cancellation of 2020 National Bowls Day Program
  • Cancellation of the 2020 North American Challenge
  • Suspension of NCCP coach programming until further notice

It is understood that should the current social distancing restrictions continue into the summer, this will have an impact on clubs and provincial associations. We are focused on working with our provincial associations to provide support through 2020 so that the sport as a whole is in a viable position to open our doors and welcome Canadians fully in 2021.


Bowls Canada’s plans are to use 2020 to develop programming for both long-term and short-term to provide support to clubs and PSOs.

  • Bowls Canada will be waiving fees for the 2020 season.
  • We are committed to moving existing resources into virtual delivery format.
  • A COVID-19 Response Team has been struck with the purpose to provide agile and responsive guidance for the Board so that we can support clubs and provincial associations through this pandemic. The Response Team is currently made up of President Ian Howard, Director Don Caswell and Executive Director Anna Mees.
  • Recommendations for the short-term to support clubs and provinces will be coming through the BCB COVID-19 Response Team, but for now Bowls Canada is advising that everyone continue to follow government recommendations regarding closures and social distancing. This team will also be looking at further ways that support can be provided over this period.
  • We will be releasing a section on our website for COVID-19 resources and announcements.
  • We will continue to provide updates on our social media channels including and Twitter @BCBBowls.

During this time, it is essential that all Canadians follow the recommendations of their local health agencies, provincial governments and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Local clubs will still need to meet minimum financial obligations and we encourage all bowlers across Canada to continue to support your club and your provincial associations. Even though you may not be on the greens as anticipated this season, your support will ensure that the greens and programs are there for seasons to come.


At this point, the House of Sport and the Bowls Canada office remains closed until further notice. Our staff are all working remotely to continue to provide support for our membership. Please contact us by email at Until we are able to access our office, we will not be able to fill orders.


The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuously monitoring the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as new information becomes available. Updates on COVID-19 can be found at:

We would also like to remind our members of the following international cancellations:

  • 2020 World Bowls Championships
  • 2020 IBD World Championships (Para-Bowls)
  • 2020 World Bowls Indoor Championships
  • 2020 Australian Open

Ian Howard, Bowls Canada President had this to say,

“Bowls Canada and all of our member Provincial Associations and clubs will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that by working together we will overcome the current health crisis facing, not just Canadians, but people all over the world. These are difficult decisions that are before us, but there is also opportunity to come together in the face of this adversity and rise stronger than ever.
I would like to thank all of our Directors for their commitment and dedication over these last few days. Our staff has also worked tirelessly to stay on top of a situation that has been ever changing with each passing hour and I am extremely grateful for their efforts.
In the meantime, stay healthy. The days of enjoying the great game of bowls together will be with us again before we know it.“


Bowls Canada

Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19


Q: Why was the decision made to cancel 2020 national championships and other BCB sanctioned events so early?

A: Provincial and federal governments have indicated it is unlikely for the COVID-19 situation to be over anytime soon in Canada. This means clubs will not likely be able to open on time, provinces are unlikely to be able to hold playdowns, and host clubs are unlikely to be able to prepare properly to host the events in these uncertain times.

The health and safety of our Bowls community, encompassing participants, players, coaches, umpires, volunteers, officials and spectators, is paramount to the decision to issue this advisory, as many of these groups typically belong to demographics that are especially susceptible to the effects of the virus.

As Covid-19 remains a rapidly changing and evolving global situation, BCB will continue to work with relevant government authorities and will provide the Bowls community with new and updated information as it comes to hand.

BCB is determined to be part of the whole-of-community response to slow the spread of this virus and safeguard the health and wellbeing of the bowls community – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope during this difficult period.

Q: Will there still be Bowls Day?

A: For 2020, Bowls Day will be cancelled. We look forward to a 2021 Bowls Day that will be bigger and better than ever.

Q: Should we still be bowling this summer?

A: Clubs should follow the provincial and local advisories in place. While many bowlers will be anxious to get back on the green, safety comes first.

Q: Is BCB still going to charge a membership fee this summer?

A: No. However, we encourage all bowlers to still pay their fees to the club and provincial associations to support their clubs through this difficult time. Clubs and Provincial Associations will still need to fund essential services such as greens maintenance, lease payments, insurance etc. Your support in 2020 will help ensure clubs are able to stay viable.

Q: What should a club tell its members?

A: The health and wellbeing of the club’s members is top priority. At all times, the club should adhere to municipal, provincial, and federal guidelines/regulations.

Q: Can we bowl alone at the club?

A: At the present time we do not recommend it. The governments are urging people to stay home so we can “flatten the curve”. This means people should stay home for non­essential tasks. We will continue to assess the situation as information becomes available, but for now the priority should be on doing our part to isolate and stop the spread.

Q: Can we still run an Open House?

A: At the present time, it is not recommended to run an Open House as this constitutes a gathering of people. Please monitor the situation and when it is safe to have social gatherings, reassess your Open Houses at that time.

Q: Should greenskeepers still cut the greens?

A: If the club can afford to do so, and it is safe to do so, then yes. Follow all government regulations and ensure that no one is increasing their risk by cutting the greens: safety first!

Q: What is going to happen to National Championships?

A: All national championships for 2020 are cancelled. We are currently working with provincial associations and hosts to determine next steps for 2021.

Q: What if we already won our provincial playdown to compete in the 2020 National Championships?

A: This would be up to your provincial association to decide how to handle. We would allow those provincial winners to represent the province in 2021 if that is what the provincial association would like to do.

Q: Will the North American Challenge (NAC) be cancelled?

A: Yes, the 2020 NAC is cancelled. Bowls Canada and Bowls USA are working together to identify a date to host the NAC in 2021.

Q: Will the BCB office be open?

A: The BCB office will be closed, however staff are working remotely. This means no orders will be filled for the foreseeable future. Staff are still available through their personal email and through the office email:

0: Can I still order pins?

A: You can, but we will not be able to fill your order at this time, as the building in which the BCB office resides is currently closed.

0: Do I still need to take Respect in Sport training?

A: Yes. Once the bowling season picks back up, the Respect in Sport training will still be a requirement. Completing this FREE training is a great activity for everyone practicing social distancing or self-isolating. You can access through this link.

0: Will coaching workshops still be run?

A: All coach workshops will be postponed for the time being. BCB will look to offer virtual coach workshops in the future.

0: Can I still coach someone 1-on-1?

A: It is not recommended to coach someone in-person at the present time, however with the changing environment, this could change at any time. It is recommended that Competition Coaches and Performance Coaches still maintain virtual contact with their athletes and coach them virtually if possible.

0: Can groups still use the clubhouse?

A: Clubs should follow municipal, provincial, and federal guidelines/regulations.

Q: What if we can’t afford our bills this year?

A: Talk to your utility providers about what can be done. There are many relief packages being put together at this time. As well, talk to your local city/municipality to see if they can be of assistance. Reach out to your provincial association and keep them in the loop. Bowls Canada and Provincial Associations are continuing to work together to find ways to support you.

0: Can we still have our AGMs and other meetings?

A: At the present time, we would recommend that you do not hold in-person meetings, but instead have meetings by phone (conference calls) or online (email and webinar). There are various tools you can use (Zoom, Go-To-Webinar, Skype etc.) that you can look into for this.


2020 OLBA Annual


Normally the 2020 OLBA Annual would have been printed by now and distributed at the Spring AGM.


Clearly times are not normal.  Many of our 2020 events will be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.  Championship and club tournaments, clinics and seminars are all suspended for the time being, with no certainty if and when they will be reinstated or rescheduled.


The Board considered cancelling the 2020 Annual altogether, but a number of factors mitigated against that decision;

  • The Annual also celebrates the year past, with 2019 Champions and award winners as well as the Hall of Fame inductees.
  • The Annual includes important information that will be relevant as soon as Bowls returns, including the Safe Sport initiative and key changes to the Championships.
  • Most of the cost and effort into putting out the Annual was already invested as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.

Our decision was therefore to produce the 2020 Annual, albeit at a greatly reduced run - and to publish it electronically as usual.  You will therefore see it at in the next few days.  And distributed to clubs as soon as it is safe to do so. 



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Disclaimer:The information and articles provided in this email represent the opinions of the articles author and should not be considered as endorsed by or policy of the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association OR it's Directors.

Ontario Lawn Bowling Assoc.

Box 1093
Tilbury, ON ​Canada
N0P 2L0​

John Fantin

Ron Charles


Steve Schuknecht
​Director at Large

James Rimmer
​Director at Large

Charles Roach
​Director at Large

Nan Hendren
​Director at Large



Phillip Francis

Ralph Ellis
​Vice President, 

Dave Burrows
​Director at Large

Bill McCollam​
​Director at Large

Jason Currie
​Director at Large

Mary Lou Richards
​Director at Large