Can the Occupier and Owner Both be Responsible?

Can the Occupier and Owner Both be Responsible?

Written By: Nick Todorovic and Sonam Sapra, Student-at-Law

With summer coming to an end, everyone is looking to soak up the last few months in the sun by taking part in their favorite summer activities. With festivals, concerts, and patios busier than ever, any unsafe conditions on these premises may result in serious personal injuries. So, who can be held liable for these types of injuries?

In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act (“Act”) governs situations where individuals are injured because of unsafe conditions on premises.

What classifies as “premises” under the Act?

According to the Act, premises can be lands or structures and can include water, ships, vessels, trailers, or other portable structures that are used for business, residences, or shelter. The Act also includes trains, railways, vehicles, and aircrafts except while in operation, under the definition of premises. This means that many popular summer activities, like renting a cottage, golfing, or visiting an amusement park, take place on premises that fall under the Act.

What is the duty of care under the Act?

The Act imposes a duty of care on the occupier of a premises to, in all circumstances, take reasonable care to see that individuals entering the premises are reasonably safe while on the premises. This duty applies whether the danger is caused by the condition of the premises or by an activity carried out on the premises.

This duty means that owners and occupiers should be maintaining property features that can lead to hazards, like stairwells and walkways. For example, cottage owners should ensure that their boat docks are properly built and will not pose a hazard to renters.

Who is an occupier under the Act?

The next question then, is who is an occupier, and does it include the owner of a premises as well? Pursuant to the Act, an occupier is a person who is in physical possession of a particular premises or a person who has responsibility for and control over the condition of premises, the activities that occur on the premises, and the persons allowed to enter the premises. Therefore, according to the Act, both an occupier and an owner of a premises can be liable for injuries that occur due to unsafe conditions on a premises.

Are there exceptions to an occupiers’ liability?

There are some instances in which an occupier may not be liable for injuries caused on a premises. For example, an occupier is likely not responsible for a person’s injuries if that person is on premises with the intention of committing, or is injured while in the process of committing a crime. An occupier may also not be liable when a person is injured on a premises but is trespassing.

How can we help?

Ultimately, if you have been injured on someone’s property and would like more information about your remedies, we are here to help. The personal injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando can help navigate the process and are here to advocate for you. Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your claim.

Nick Todorovic


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