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Early Notice Requirements When Injuries Suffered Due to Snow & Ice

Just as we have just crossed the Winter Solstice, injuries from slips and/or falls on snow and ice are going to have new, short notice periods, of which every Ontarian should be aware.

Written Notice Required

The government of Ontario recently passed Bill 118,[1] which amends the Occupiers’ Liability Act[2],  requiring the injured person to provide written notice to potential defendants within 60 days of the incident when that person is injured in a slip and fall caused by ice or snow on privately-owned property, including businesses, homes and apartment buildings.[3] Written notice must include the date, time and location of the incident, and must be served on the occupier of the premises or the independent contractor employed to remove snow or ice.[4]

This new notice provision joins the long-standing notice provision of 10 days when injuries occur on municipal property, such as sidewalks, entrances to city buildings and roads.  In those situations, the injured person is required to provide written notice of the claim and injury to the municipality within 10 days of the incident.[5]

What does this mean for you?

The amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act along with the long standing notice requirements under the Municipal Act, 2001 will make it extremely important for anyone injured after a slip and fall on snow or ice to seek legal advice immediately and to ensure that the proper parties are identified and given written notice.

Written notice has a practical component as it allows the occupier to preserve evidence, including security camera footage, winter maintenance records and logbooks.   By retaining a personal injury lawyer early after an injury, this also allows the lawyer to conduct appropriate and timely investigation into the incident so that the evidence is preserved and potential witnesses interviewed.

If you are injured from a slip and fall on ice or snow, you can bring a lawsuit against the occupier of the premises and any independent contractor who was employed by the occupier to remove snow and ice, provided you meet the notice requirements.  You then have two years from the date of the incident in order to commence a claim.

There are limited exceptions to the 60-day notice requirement, including in the case of the death of the injured person as the result of the injury[6] and where a judge finds that there was a reasonable excuse for not meeting the requirement and the defendant is not prejudiced.[7]

At the time of writing this article, there is no posted date for when the amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act will come into effect.  Regardless, now more than ever it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Even if your injuries may seem minor at first, they can linger and become more pronounced as time goes on. The sooner you retain counsel after the incident, the easier it is to gather the information required to assess your claim and ensure that the notice is served within the required notice periods.

This article was written by member of the Personal Injury Team at McKenzie Lake. If you require assistance with a personal injury matter or wish to speak to a personal injury lawyer at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP, please call (519) 672-5666.

[1] An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1st Sess, 42nd Leg, Ontario, 2020 (assented to 8 December 2020).

[2] R.S.O. 1990, c. O.2.

[3] Bill 118, s 6.1(1).

[4] Bill 118, s 6.1(2).

[5] Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25, s 44(10).

[6] Bill 118, s 6.1(5).

[7] Bill 118, s 6.1(6).

Dec 15, 2020