January 9, January 9, 2014
Jim Hart, General Manager, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation
Here is a copy of the “special helmets issue” of the Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter for January 2014. It raises a number of points that I hope you will consider now that the outdoor rink season is in full swing:
1. Although the city specifically requires CSA-certified hockey helmets for children under 6 and for shinny hockey players, it now seems clear that the CSA hockey helmet doesn’t do what mainly worries people – prevent concussions – any more than other helmets do
2. Injury rates are vanishingly small for shinny players, with or without helmets
3. The City’s helmet rules are reducing the number of skaters, without a balancing benefit.
In addition, it may be that the skating and rinks policy has made the City legally vulnerable in two ways:
1. The City’s insistence on only Canadian-certified helmets may be a violation of NAFTA
2. After nine years of this policy, noncompliance by shinny hockey players continues to rise citywide. The city’s inability to enforce its own policy increases the likelihood of claims against the city, much more than “recommendations,” such as your Division uses for skiing and snowboarding drop-ins.
I hope that consideration of the points in this special helmets issue will contribute to a revisiting of the helmet rules now, but with a different procedure than before. Instead of a staff decision made at a closed meeting at City Hall, please welcome the wide-ranging rink-user input that was missing the first time.
This is issue is of concern to many rink users. The newsletter has fairly wide circulation and I have written in it that I plan to send you a copy and report back on your response. I hope that this account makes sense to you, and look forward to your comments.
Attachments to document: Cover Letter: Helmets Issue to Jim Hart