Ontario consumers consider farmers’ markets a safe place to shop.

They trust the products and the experience.  The COVID-19 pandemic and more intense and unpredictable weather highlighted that safety and risk management practices at markets are lacking.  The seasonal and itinerant aspect of markets leads to a high turn-over of market managers. They have many responsibilities and do not always appreciate or understand the importance of safety and risk management.  Every vendor also has a responsibility for the safety of the food and other products they sell, as well as for the stand and vending area from which they operate.

From a legal perspective, a farmers’ market is taking on a responsibility by operating the market and attracting customers.  If the market creates a situation that draws people into hazardous situations, it can create a liability for the market. The board, market manager and vendors all have a responsibility to identify and reduce risks.  The board and market manager need to ensure they actively manage risk by establishing the correct legal entity and exploring the transfer and sharing of risk through insurance coverage.

Please review all this material carefully to help you identify the risks you and your market face and guide you through proactive steps to address and reduce them. The goal is to ensure you and your market are safe and prepared for any event or emergency that may occur.