Ontarians are all too familiar with the hazards of winter conditions, which is why we expect occupiers to clear the snow and ice on the properties they are responsible for. This expectation is codified in the Occupiers’ Liability Act, which requires occupiers to take such care to see that people on their property are reasonably safe.
Prior to the new amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act, individuals had two years to commence a claim against occupiers to recover damages caused by snow and ice.
As of December 8, 2020, the Ontario provincial government passed Bill 118, which amends the Occupiers’ Liability Act, by adding a new section 6.1: “Notice period – injury from snow, ice.” Within 60 days of the incident, written notice of the claim, including the date, time, and location of occurrence, must be personally served on an occupier or independent contractor.
According to section 6.1(5) and (6), failure to provide notice within 60 days will result in the claim being statute-barred unless one of two exceptions applies. First, failure to provide notice within 60 days will not bar a claim where the injured party died due to their injuries. Second, a claim will not be barred if the lack of notice, or the insufficiency of the notice, can be reasonably excused, and the occupiers or independent contractors are not prejudiced in defending the claim. It is not yet known how “reasonable excuse” or “prejudice” will be interpreted with respect to the amendment.
Section 6.1(3) provides that if an occupier or independent contractor is served notice, they have an obligation to personally serve a copy to any other occupiers of the premises, as well as any independent contractors responsible for the premises, during the relevant time period when the injury took place. Section 6.1(7) further provides that if an occupier or independent contractor does not receive notice, but sufficient notice was given within the 60 day limitation period to another occupier or independent contractor, the 60-day limitation period will not apply.
If you or someone you know has recently been injured due to snow and ice accumulation on private property, contact our Personal Injury Lawyers today by calling 416-599-1700 or 1-866-599-1700 (toll-free). Consultations are free, and we would be honored to help you. Please note that you don’t pay unless we recover money for you.