Important Change Introduced to Occupiers’ Liability Act Regarding Snow and Ice-Related Accidents
Bill 118 was proclaimed into law in December 2020 and brings an important change to the Occupier’s Liability Act regarding personal injury claims for damages caused by snow or ice.
What is Occupiers’ Liability?
Owners and occupiers of commercial, residential and municipal properties owe a duty to ensure the safety of those who enter that property by invitation or by right. This duty generally applies to any person or entity which occupies or maintains control of a property, as set out in Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act.
Hazards which can cause an occupier to be in violation of this duty include the failure to salt or properly remove ice and snow, negligent property maintenance, unsecured animals, insufficient lighting and poor construction.
Bill 118, Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2020
Previous to Bill 118, claimants had two years to notify the defendants of a claim for injuries suffered due to snow and ice.
However, Bill 118 amends the Occupiers’ Liability Act to provide that no action can be brought for the recovery of damages for personal injury caused by snow or ice against an occupier or an independent contractor employed by the occupier to remove snow or ice, unless, within 60 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim is served. The Bill also sets out exceptions to this rule.
The Bill was proposed in response to snow removal operators facing considerable surges in insurance costs following a bump in slip-and-fall claims made against them.
This change will be introduced by a new provision, which is not yet in force, as set out below:
Notice period — injury from snow, ice
6.1 (1) No action shall be brought for the recovery of damages for personal injury caused by snow or ice against a person or persons listed in subsection (2) unless, within 60 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim, including the date, time and location of the occurrence, has been personally served on or sent by registered mail to at least one person listed in subsection (2).
(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are the following:
- An occupier.
- An independent contractor employed by the occupier to remove snow or ice on the premises during the relevant period in which the injury occurred.
Copy of notice
(3) An occupier that receives notice under subsection (1) shall personally serve a copy of the notice on, or send the notice by registered mail to,
(a) any occupiers of the premises during the relevant period in which the injury occurred; and
(b) any independent contractor employed by the occupier to remove snow or ice on the premises during the relevant period in which the injury occurred.
(4) An independent contractor employed by an occupier to remove snow or ice on the premises that receives a notice under subsection (1) shall personally serve a copy of the notice on, or send the notice by registered mail to, the occupier that employed the independent contractor.
(5) Failure to give notice in accordance with subsection (1) is not a bar to the action in the case of the death of the injured person as a result of the injury.
(6) Failure to give notice in accordance with subsection (1) or insufficiency of the notice is not a bar to the action if a judge finds that there is reasonable excuse for the want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the defendant is not prejudiced in its defence.
Notice effective against all persons
(7) For greater certainty, the limitation on bringing actions after the 60-day period set out in subsection (1) no longer applies if notice is provided in accordance with that subsection to any person listed in subsection (2), even if the action is to be brought against a person that did not originally receive the notice.
Accidents resulting from the negligence of owners or occupiers can be devastating. Depending on the severity, these incidents can cause serious injuries and have a lasting effect on your health, mobility, ability to earn income, and more. It is important to ensure that you obtain experienced and trusted legal advice as soon as possible after an accident.
Once you contact us, the personal injury lawyers at Petker Campbell Postnikoff will meet with you to obtain all of the necessary information in order to preserve evidence as quickly as possible, so that you can turn your attention to recovery. We will connect you with our network of trusted medical professionals if necessary so that you can be sure that you reach your maximum potential for recovery.
While it is important to reach out to us as soon after an accident as possible, we will allow sufficient time before beginning a claim to gain a clear understanding of your short-term and long-term injuries so that we can determine the amount of damages to seek on your behalf. Once a sufficient picture of your recovery and long-term prognosis is determined, we will work to ensure that you receive maximum compensation through settlement or judgment at trial.
Please call us today at 519-886-1204 or contact us online to arrange a no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyers. We offer prospective personal injury clients a free initial consultation. We will work to maximize your compensation while shielding you from unnecessary additional stress following a physical trauma.