Injured by a snowy fall? New bill closes window to report incidents

17 Nov 2020 9:34 AM | Smart About Salt (Administrator)

A private members bill protecting small businesses and snow removal companies from lawsuits and increasing insurance rates was passed this week by the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.

Bill 118 — introduced by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller — shortens the period of time individuals who have suffered falls due to snow and ice have to notify a property owner, tenant or snow removal company.

The committee unanimously agreed to a 60-day notice period, a change from the previous two-year window injured parties had to notify the relevant property owners and businesses.

In a press release, Miller said the goal of the bill is to reduce the number of “frivolous” slip and fall claims, in turn reducing the cost of liability insurance for snow removal contractors.

The two-year period, Miller said, made 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.”

The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills heard from landscaping and snow removal companies who have reportedly faced increase up to 500 per cent in their liability insurance premiums and others who were refused insurance completely.

“Ontario has winter,” Miller said. “Snow and ice are facts of life, so it is essential that we have strong snow removal businesses and that their services are affordable.”

The bill now awaits a third reading in the Ontario Legislature.

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