New Occupiers' Liability Notices Coming Soon

Published date22 December 2020
Subject MatterInsurance, Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Insurance Laws and Products, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Personal Injury
Law FirmBlaney McMurtry LLP
AuthorMr Larry Reimer


On December 8, 2020, Bill 118, An Act to amend the Occupiers' Liability Act (the "Act") received Royal Assent from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The Act has not yet come into force with the date to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

The primary amendment to the Act is found under Section 6.1(1):

No 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 to remove snow or ice], unless, within 60 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim is served.

The Bill originally tabled a 10-day notice period after the occurrence of an injury (similar to the notice provision under the Municipal Act), however, debate and amendments resulted in a 60 day notice period. Notice will be required to include the date, time and location of the incident and will need to be served personally or by registered mail. While notice of an injury as a result of snow and ice will be required as a result of the Act, the actual time for issuing a claim will still be subject to the standard two (2) year limitation period provided under the Limitations Act.


The stated purpose of Bill 118 is to reduce insurance costs for businesses who provide winter maintenance services. There was significant anecdotal evidence provided during the third reading that insurance premium increases were caused by: (1) a surge in slip-and-fall claims leading to expensive litigation; and (2) the difficulty insurers have in predicting when a claim will arise under a two-year window.

Whether this is accurate or not, the Act appears to assume that early notice provisions will assist the prospective parties with the preservation of evidence. It is hoped this will in turn assist in accurately and efficiently resolving disputes.

Additional Notice Requirements

An occupier who receives notice in accordance with Section 6.1(1) must serve a copy of the notice to any other occupiers of the premises during the relevant period in which the injury occurred and any contractor employed to remove snow or ice on the premises. There is a mirror provision in subsection 6.1(4) if the injured party serves notice on the contractor rather than the occupier.

The Act is silent with respect to the time frame in which the notice must be served on these potential third parties. In the Municipal Act, there is no similar requirement to provide a copy of notice to...

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