Bill 118, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2020, SO 2020, c 33, received royal assent on December 8, 2020 and creates an important notice requirement for personal injury claims caused by snow or ice.
The amendment states, among other things, that “[n]o action shall 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] 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 [the occupier or the independent contractor].” Notice to either the occupier or the independent contractor satisfies the prerequisite for a lawsuit against both.
Notably, the failure to comply with the notice requirement is not a bar to the action in the case of the death of the injured person or if a judge determines “that there is a reasonable excuse for the want or the insufficiency of the notice and the defendant is not prejudiced in its defence.”
The amendment will be added as section 6.1 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act, RSO 1990, c O.2 and provides occupiers and independent contractors with an early opportunity to investigate the slip and fall incident, gather relevant evidence, such as security camera footage that might otherwise be deleted, and take any remedial measures that are required in the circumstances. The amendment will come in force on a date to be determined by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.