Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller has introduced a new private member’s bill to limit liability for slip and falls.

Bill 118, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act was passed in the Ontario Legislature Thursday.

The bill requires anyone who is trying to sue for a fall on snow and ice to notify at least one of the property owners, tenants, property managers or snow removal companies of their fall within 60 days of when it happened. “This will allow the defendants in any action to collect evidence and statements in a timely fashion to better defend themselves,” a statement from Miller’s office explains.

The original proposal was a 10-day notice period for slips and falls which is the same as the timeframe for notifying a municipality about a slip and fall on a local road or sidewalk. After a hearing, Miller introduced an amendment that added another 50 days to the notification period. 

“Dave Finch of Wes Finch and Sons in Bracebridge told me that he was having difficulty getting liability insurance for their snow removal operations because they had a contract to plow the hospital parking lot,” explains Miller. “When I started looking into it, I learned this was a common problem for snow removal companies. After I introduced the Bill I heard from dozens of contractors from around the province who either couldn’t get insurance or whose insurance premiums had doubled or tripled in the past few years.”

“We live in a northern climate with winter,” Miller says. “We get snow and ice. Somehow people seem to have come to expect clear, dry pavement year-round but that just isn’t possible. We as individuals need to take some personal responsibility for our own safety. We need to wear appropriate footwear and walk carefully in the winter. As a province, we need to ensure that snow removal companies can remain viable and can provide affordable services in our communities.”