Skip to content

Narrow screen resolution Wide screen resolution Auto adjust screen size Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color brick color green color
Again NOT legal advice.

A smalltown / snowbelt Ontario backbencher's proposed BILL 118 is awaiting third reading in Queens Park. ( The not-yet-enacted Bill is labelled "Occupiers' Liability Amendment Act, 2019". Its application would be so-called "slip & fall" winter injury claims including such arising at condo or Building Scheme communities. )

Bill 118 would amend Ontario's OCCUPIERS’ LIABILITY ACT R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER O.2 ( "the Act" ) by upfront "moving the yardsticks" significantly.

That's moving them AGAINST injured claimants and in favour of insurers & clients alike, howsoever diligent or careless the latter may have been about ice control.

AGAINST CLAIMS FOR ALLEGED INJURIES due to ICE and/or snow not on municipal property, to a MERE TEN DAYS it would introduce an immediate deadline on a claimant to identify & serve a 'prior alert' sorta NOTICE to the occupier(s) or maintainers.

( Bill 118`s proponent was quoted claiming that such new upfront Notice requirement happily would also NOT discontinue the general two year Limitations Act 2002 deadline imposed on victims to formally file a lawsuit against non-municipal occupiers. ontario-1004165572/

Further, such notice would have to be "written" ( effectively think : registered mail or personal service. )

Without ACTUAL WRITTEN NOTICE to a non-municipal occupier or maintainer if even identifiable, a claimant's current TWO YEAR deadline to formally file a claim could rebuttably be pre-empted upfront for missing the proposed mere TEN DAY ( first alert ) NOTICE.

Yes, there can be credible arguments for or against the proposal, including viewable as Hansarded below. Yes I "get it" - no less than those whose kvetching has prompted the Bill.

Are there new categories of civil claims worth triggering some sort of claim-killing upfront deadline ? Cynically one could ask : Why just ice & snow injuries on non-municipal land or Provincial roads ?

In perspective, such immediate hurdle would occur amidst degrees of pain & disruptive, often expensive upheavals for a genuinely injured individual. These are not planned unless totally bogus.

The Act already correctly puts the onus of proof on claimants, like most other civil claims. And it's no slamdunk, as evidenced by condo litigation outcomes as some discussed here.

Most claimants understand that they usually face a better-understood deadline to formally file a typical lawsuit by end of the second anniversary of the alleged injury. This can vary. Injured victims need to consult competent professionals.

BUT where an immediate ten day notice deadline exists on municipal lands, victims are usually shocked to even learn of it ! And of course it might be harsh but justifiable given the vast extent of sidewalks, roads or vacant municipal lands.

No question Bill 118 would help the bottom line of insurers. Maybe Bill 118 might slow some premium increases. And theoretically it would alert maintainers to gather evidence/ avoid further injury, as if a victim bears any possible blame or duty for triggering such alert.

That's of course if a particular maintainer or occupier bothers to be identifiable or to accept such notice or to admit receiving it without a dispute.

Totally BOGUS injury claimants would readily meet the deadline.

Bottom line

Bill 118 would significantly shift the post-injury burdens against claimants, whatever the merit of their claims. And it ain't obvious as a clear public interest that such non-municipal occupiers SHOULD be lucky enough to get this sort of buffer but not other potential defenders against loss or injury claims. . .

Is this really a good idea if one considers being injured oneself due to sloppy ice control ? Remember Waldick v Malcolm ? (see below )

The 2nd reading Bill 118 is at
which itself links to Ontario Hansard`s June 6/19 2nd reading discussion pg 1430 to 1510 hansard#para1362

Ottawa condo lawyer Rod Escayola discusses the Bill and its chances at Nov 27 2019 ``Changes to “Slip and Falls” Involving Condos ? ``by Rod Escayola LLB ( Gowling WLG )

July 10/19 Canadian Underwriter "How slip-and-fall lawsuit rules could change in Ontario" by Greg Meckbach ontario-1004165572/

Footnote : The phrase "small town" above is not intended in any pejorative sense above as to Bill 118's sponsor. I myself am now rural. Our lakefront Building Scheme's non-mandatory HOA ( homeowners association ) spends more than 50 % of its budget on insurance without having had any claim against it.

There's a certain mentality : 1991 Supreme Court of Canada Waldick v. Malcolm, 1991 CanLII 71 (SCC), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 456 ( " Here in rural Ontario we should not be held to a city standard. This ain't the Beaches ! Walkers around here expect careless ice control. We need Home Rule in Occupiers Liability ! " . . . BUT 'NO !' said Canada's Supreme Court ! . . . . )
  The administrator has disabled public write access.
contact webmaster