Miller's Private Members Bill on Slip & Falls Moves Along To Becoming Law
This week, MPP Norm Miller’s Private Members Bill 118, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, was considered and passed by the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.
Bill 118 shortens the notice period within which individuals who have fallen because of snow and ice are required to notify the property owner, tenant or snow removal company of their fall and the potential of a law suit. This change is intended to decrease the number of frivolous slip and fall claims and, in turn, reduce the cost of liability insurance for snow removal contractors.
Miller says right now injured parties have two years to notify of a slip and fall and many people wait until the last few months of that window to notify the businesses involved. This makes it very difficult for the businesses to defend themselves as evidence is often long gone, memories have faded and businesses may not even have the same staff.
Originally the Bill had suggested a 10-day notice period, the same as the notice period for people who fall on a municipally maintained road or sidewalk. However, after consultation the committee unanimously agreed to a 60-day notice period.
The Committee heard from landscaping and snow removal companies of all sizes who have faced up to 500% increases in their liability insurance premiums and some who have left the business because they were refused liability insurance completely.
There are two final steps before this Bill will become law. It needs to be called for Third Reading debate in the Ontario Legislature and then given Royal Assent by the Lieutenant Governor. Miller is hopeful that will happen this fall.