Warning, warning, warning!!!
If you have a potential personal injury claim arising from a slip and fall on ice and snow in Ontario, you must move quickly to protect yourself. In 2021, the Ontario Government passed a Bill which dramatically tightens the timelines for advancing this type of claim under the Occupiers Liability Act (OLA).
Prior to the passing of the Bill, all the Plaintiff had to do was start a lawsuit within two years of the incident. Now, the Government has introduced a two-step process with the introduction of a 60-day notice. While the two-year limitation has not changed, the new notice provision is clearly designed to hurt injured plaintiffs in their quest for compensation against at fault property owners, and snow removal companies.
Under the OLA, an occupier is defined as a person who is in physical possession of a premises, or a person who has responsibility for and control over the condition of the premises. Naturally, this is a broader definition than simply the property owner. It could include a tenant, a business operating at the location, a management company etc.
Under the new Law, you must notify the occupier or snow contractor by personal service (hand them an actual copy) or send a registered letter. The letter must include the date, time, and location of the occurrence.
If you fail to send the notice within 60 days, the defendant(s) can move before a Judge to have your lawsuit dismissed. Thankfully, the notice provision does not apply if the injured party dies as a result of the fall. Also, you can dodge the notice requirements if you have a reasonable excuse, and the defendant is not prejudiced. Only time will tell how that provision is interpreted by our Courts.
If you have had a slip and fall on ice or snow in Ontario, you should immediately contact a lawyer who will take the necessary steps to send the notice letter on your behalf.