Informative Articles

The Importance of the Occupiers’ Liability Act — Why Should I Care?

The Importance of the Occupiers’ Liability Act — Why Should I Care?

A common pastime of Ontarians is spending time outdoors biking, hiking, and exploring the public parks and trails that are maintained by towns and cities. These properties, however, may not be maintained well and may contain various hazards. Consequently, this may result in personal injury – this is where the Occupiers’ Liability Act Ontario comes into effect.  

An occupiers’ liability claim is filed when a property owner or occupier was negligent in preventing injuries on their property. If an individual is injured as a result of unsafe property conditions, they may have a claim. For example, if an individual suffers a slip and fall injury on icy stairs, the occupier may be found liable for damages. If a claim is successful, the injured individual may receive compensation that addresses pain and suffering, medical costs, and missed income. Occupiers’ liability claims are subject to a strict limitations period, so it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. 

Under provincial law, owners and occupiers must maintain reasonably safe properties on features including, but not limited to: 

  • Stairs 
  • Private parking lots 
  • Sidewalks  
  • Ramps 
  • Driveways 
  • Aisles 

In addition, occupiers are required to take reasonable measures to both identify and remedy hazards when they occur. If they are unable to fix the hazard, they must at least warn the public of any danger. For example, using a wet floor sign to let individuals know that there is a potential hazard. However, these warnings may not relieve the property owner of liability. Some common property hazards include: 

  • Ice and snow 
  • Uneven surfaces, such as potholes 
  • Poor lighting that makes it difficult to spot potential hazards 
  • Improperly mopped floors or spilled liquids 
  • Stairways with no handrails or missing steps 

Contact our team of experienced professionals for more information on the Occupiers’ Liability Act and whether you have a claim.  

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