Member Update #7: Return to Rowing

Member Update #7: Return to Rowing

Vaccine Requirements and Additional Updates

The Canadian rowing community has remained safe and healthy overall throughout the pandemic. The low numbers of reported cases to RCA thus far is a testament to the strong leadership and oversight of key individuals from within our member organizations and the conscientiousness of all our participants. Our protocols and behaviours have served us well and at this stage of the pandemic we want to reinforce the need to remain diligent and to continue to apply best practices as we enter the fall/winter season. As the pandemic response evolves, we at RCA are required to evolve along with the changing nature of the pandemic and regional public health regulations.

Vaccination Requirements

The health and safety of staff, athletes and the community remains our top priority at this time. RCA will be requiring proof of full vaccination status for everyone joining us for the 2021 RCA National Rowing Championships and the 2022 RCA National Conference. For those who are not fully vaccinated, RCA will require proof of regular Health Canada approved negative COVID tests to be conducted at the individual’s own expense. Details related to both of these events are provided below, with more forthcoming.

Under the guidance of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilkinson, RCA also strongly recommends that member organizations adopt the requirement for all participants to provide proof of double vaccination for outdoor (including for events) and indoor activity. Member organizations must continue to abide by all local, provincial and federal public health guidelines, including in relation to vaccine requirements.

RCA also recommends that for those who are not fully vaccinated, that member organizations require proof of regular Health Canada approved negative COVID tests to be conducted at the individual’s own expense.

Member organizations with employees should seek legal advice when developing a mandatory vaccination policy as an employer. Workplace health and safety and employees’ interests must be addressed in addition to consideration of labour and employment issues in the relevant province.

Below we have outlined a number of reminders and additional updates for the RCA membership. As many limitations and expectations apply from the provincial level, please ensure to remain up to date on information provided from your Provincial Rowing Association and continue to abide by their local, provincial and federal public health guidelines when making decisions and assessments related to the programming they offer  

Sanctioned Activity

RCA has sanctioned on-water and indoor activity as described below. In some areas, provincial and local guidelines have more restrictive limitations and it is essential that member organizations only offer programming that is also allowed within those restrictions.

Outdoor Activity
RCA has sanctioned on-water activity for all boat sizes and skill levels (including new to rowing and returning rowers). This may be different for each province/region depending on local and provincial restrictions in place.

Indoor Activity
Group and individual activity is sanctioned by RCA as outlined HERE. This may be different for each province/region depending on local and provincial restrictions in place. 

Return to Events

2021-2022 Events
Effective July 24, 2021, RCA has been sanctioning outdoor events. We are currently not sanctioning indoor events. Please see this recent announcement for more information and requirements that must be met.

National Events
The following events have been cancelled or postponed this year:

  • 2021 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta has been cancelled.
  • Cascadia RCA Masters Championships has been cancelled.
  • National Rowing Championships and Canada Cup that were to be held in Welland, Ontario have been cancelled.

RCA will host an alternative, streamlined version of the National Rowing Championships from November 11-13, 2021 at Elk Lake, Victoria, British Columbia. Details will be provided to the Provincial Rowing Associations and wider community throughout the fall. Proof of full vaccination will be required for everyone joining us for the RCA National Rowing Championships.

Plans are underway to host a hybrid virtual/in-person RCA National Conference in January 2022 in Victoria, British Columbia. More details will be released later in the fall. Proof of full vaccination will be required for everyone joining us for the RCA National Conference. Any local restrictions to indoor organized events at the time will apply and may impact the delivery of the in-person portion of the conference.


It is RCA’s current understanding that RCA sanctioned activity, which is not impacted by a local cessation mandate, is covered under our existing insurance provision. This includes competition at events registered/sanctioned by USRowing.

The liability policy for RCA and its member organizations provides coverage in the USA for competition at events that are registered/sanctioned by USRowing.

The sport accident policy does not cover any activity that occurs outside of Canada.  We strongly recommend that anyone going outside of Canada obtain excess travel medical coverage (ensure that there is no exclusion for sport activity).

As of February 15, 2021, our policy now has an exclusion to coverage related to communicable disease.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist

Clubs are required to have completed the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool prior to returning to the water. There is no requirement to complete the tool again if your organization completed it in 2020. Clubs must update their own protocols to reflect any new changes related to restrictions at the local and provincial level. Additionally, the following implementation expectations are no longer considered mandatory by RCA:

  • The creation of separate, self-contained groups for individuals who are considered higher risk. Clubs should use their discretion regarding making changes to this former requirement.
  • Daily briefings on new information and changes. Clubs should provide updates and share new information as necessary.
  • Application of the 2m rule should be implemented as per local guidelines (e.g. in some locations the 2m rule no longer applies).

If it is unclear how the implementation expectations from the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool combined with the evolution of local restrictions should result in updates to club protocols, please contact us or your PRA with your specific inquiries.

We want to emphasize that our cleaning and sanitizing expectations remain in place. We also strongly recommend the use of masks, hygiene practices and PPE when interacting with others in close proximity.

If your organization does not have a completed Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist tool on record please contact us prior to offering programming this season. 

RCA Dues and Fees

RCA Annual Dues, Participant Fees and Regatta Seat Fees are in effect. RCA fees will be refunded for programs that are cancelled (due to COVID-19 restrictions) prior to the program start date.

Member organizations should ensure that refund policies are clearly communicated in all advertisements for new programming. 

COVID-19 Exposure at Your Club

Contact RCA ( and and your PRA immediately regarding any of the following:

  • An individual at your club has a positive COVID-19 test  
  • An individual at your club has been advised by Public Health to quarantine or be tested as they have been in close contact with an individual who has a positive COVID-19 test or confirmed COVID-19 illness. 

While we all remain vigilant in protecting our rowing community, we look forward to seeing everyone on the water this season. Please contact us if you need further support or clarification. Stay tuned for our next ‘Return to Rowing’ update in October.

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