Change of March Break creates travel problems for some teachers, families
TORONTO -- When the Ontario government announced last month that it was postponing March Break to begin on the week of April 12th, some teachers and families had already booked vacations.
“It’s been very challenging times for teachers, to say the least," said Stephanie Borland, a teacher who lives in Toronto.
“We were looking forward to rest and rejuvenate with our friends in the mountains," she said.
In October of 2020, Borland booked a ski vacation for March Break with her husband and three other couples to stay at a chalet in Whistler, B.C.
Borland said for her husband and herself the ski passes for the trip came to $2,000 and because of COVID-19 they checked to make sure they were refundable in case they couldn't go due to the pandemic.
“The passes came with insurance and in the fine print it says if there are any issues with COVID-19 your tickets are fully refundable, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore," Borland explained.
She said when the province announced last month that the week-long break in March had been pushed to April, the airline they booked tickets with agreed to give them credits for a future flight.
The chalet they planned to rent also gave them a full refund, but the company in charge of the ski passes told Borland there were no credits and no refunds.
“I don’t think there was any way for us to predict that the Ontario government would postpone March Break," Borland said.
The Grade 1 teacher said her request for a refund was denied twice, so she contacted CTV News Toronto.
When CTV News Toronto reached out to Vail Resorts Management, which operates Whistler Blackcomb, it said it was reviewing all claims affected by the postponement of the school break.
Spokesperson Marc Riddell, the Director of Communications and Resort Marketing Western Region with Vail Resorts, said, “Ms. Borland is eligible for a full refund for her passes, as are [sic] anyone in Ontario who’s [sic] trip was impacted by provincial travel restrictions or stay-at-home orders. She should receive an email today or tomorrow indicating that she does qualify for a refund and the email provides instructions on how ACM [American Claims Management] will process that.”
Riddell added, “As I said, we were working on plan to extend Epic Coverage when you contacted us and this is the result. If Ms. Borland has any follow up, you can provide my email so she can reach out directly.”
Borland said she was relieved to hear she would be getting a full refund.
“I'm so happy and very pleased, obviously we really wanted to go on the ski trip, but now we can try to have the trip at some point in the future,” said Borland.
Many teachers, students and families were hoping they could have this week off to have a break from school work and teachers' unions in Ontario opposed the delay of March break.
As it stands now students and teachers will get a break in four weeks time starting on April 12, 2021.