Ontario just passed a bill amending the Occupiers’ Liability Act, which will bring drastic changes to how claims for “slip and falls” can be brought against condo corporations (and other occupiers).
Written notice of the claim
Under the modified Occupiers’ Liability Act, no one will be able to bring a claim for damages resulting from a personal injury caused by snow or ice unless they have provided written notice of the claim within 60 days of the injury. The notice will be required to contain information such as the date, time and location of the occurrence. The notice will need to be served personally (or sent by registered mail) to the “occupier” or to the contractor employed by the occupier to remove snow or ice on the premises.
Who is the occupier?
Our readers already know that the condominium corporation is, at law, the occupier of the common elements for the purpose of the Occupiers Liability Act. This means that before someone can sue the corporation for a slip and fall on ice/snow, they need to provide the corporation with this newly required written notice. If they don’t, the corporation may be able to get the suit tossed out.
What to do with the notice?
Upon receipt of a written notice, the corporation is required to personally serve a copy of it onto the contractor employed to remove snow/ice and onto any other occupier (think of another corporation sharing the common elements in question).
The amended legislation does not indicate how quickly the corporation has to serve a copy of the notice onto its contractor, but we suggest it should be done without delay and, if possible, within 60 days of the injury. Naturally, this assumes you received the notice in time to begin with.
Someone who fails to provide the required written notice within 60 days of the injury will lose the ability to make a claim unless:
- The injury resulted in death;
- Or unless a judge finds that there is a reasonable excuse for not having provided proper notice and the defendant is not prejudiced in its ability to defend the claim.
When will this change come into effect?
Bill 118 received royal assent on December 8, 2020 – but the changes referred to above are not in force yet. There is no mention of when these changes may come into force.