Tag Archives: Canada

CBC News: The National: Fire officials warning about ethanol-fuelled fire pots

John McLeish, sat down with CBC News: The National to discuss the dangers of ethanol-fueled devices.

Click here to learn more about the danger of household fire products.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured by an ethanol-fueled device, contact one of the personal injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando.

Rowan’s Law Day: Concussion Awareness and Safety

Written By: Nick Todorovic and Brock Turville, Student-at-Law

The last Wednesday of every September has been declared Rowan’s Law Day to promote concussion awareness and safety. This year, Rowan’s Law Day will be commemorated on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019.

Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player from Ottawa, died at age 17 on Mother’s Day in 2013 as a result of suffering multiple concussions. Rowan suffered three concussions in the span of six days while playing rugby[1], which remained undetected by her parents, teachers, coaches, and peers. The cause of Rowan’s death was determined to be second impact syndrome, which is swelling of the brain caused by a subsequent injury to the brain before the previous brain injury fully healed.[2]

A concussion is a brain injury, which can result in permanent brain damage, disability, and death.[3] It is caused by one or several blows to the head, face, neck, or body that transmits force to the head, causing the brain to move within the skull.[4] Concussions can happen anywhere and are not limited to sports. They can occur at work, school, or at home, or in motor vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian collisions. The leading causes of head injuries in Ontario were sports (45%), followed by falls (16%) and bicycle collisions (5%).[5]

Concussions can be subtle and difficult to detect, so it is important to be aware of common physical, cognitive, and emotional signs and symptoms. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Pressure in the head
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Depression

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately and follow the health practitioner’s directions.

In addition to Rowan’s Law Day, MPP Lisa MacLeod advocated for change in Rowan’s Law (Bill 193), which was given royal assent on March 7, 2018. Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 makes it mandatory for sports organizations in Ontario to:

  • Ensure athletes under 26 years old, parents of athletes under 18, coaches, team trainers and officials confirm every day that they reviewed Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources;
  • Establish a Concussion Code of Conduct that establishes rules of behaviour to support concussion prevention; and
  • Establish a Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocol.[6]

If you, as an athlete or spectator, suspect a concussion has occurred, you should:

  • Remove yourself or the athlete from the activity, even if you feel fine or the athlete insists they are ok.
  • Get yourself or the athlete examined by a physician or a nurse.
  • Support gradual and safe return to sport.[7]

With Rowan’s Law in effect and Rowan’s Law Day officially designated, Ontario has proven to be a leader in concussion awareness and prevention in Canada. Rowan’s father, Gordon Stringer, highlighted the need for change across the country: “The heavy lifting has been done here in Ontario. But this is not an Ontario issue. This is something that needs to be addressed across Canada”.[8]

While commemorating Rowan, it is hoped that this tragic and preventable death will spark more concussion awareness, safety, and prevention in the rest of the country.

[1] https://www.ontario.ca/page/rowans-law-day#section-1

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://obia.ca/concussion-resources/

[4] http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/concussions/docs/infographic_concussion.pdf

[5] Ibid.

[6] https://www.ontario.ca/page/rowans-law-concussion-safety

[7] https://www.ontario.ca/page/rowans-law-concussion-awareness-resources

[8] Supra, note 3.

A Reminder of the Importance of Reasonable Foreseeability in Negligence Claims

Written By: Joseph Cescon and Brandon Pedersen, Summer Student

Negligence Claims

Importance of Reasonable Foreseeability in Negligence Claims

At law, certain relationships are recognized to give rise to a prima facie duty of care. It is a well-known fact and well-established point of law that a driver of a car who is at-fault owes a duty of care to a person who was injured as a result of the driver’s negligence. The reason for this is that a risk of personal injury after a driver’s negligent conduct (for example, being intoxicated while driving) is reasonably foreseeable.

In what circumstances might a property owner owe a duty of care to a thief who steals from their business? On the face of things, the notion that an innocent party could owe a duty of care to someone who steals from them seems illogical; however, last year, the Supreme Court of Canada revisited the question of foreseeability in establishing a duty of care.

In Rankin (Rankin’s Garage & Sales) v JJ,[1] two teenagers drank alcohol and smoked marijuana to the point of intoxication, and subsequently went to Rankin’s Garage in Paisley, Ontario.  At the time, Rankin’s was an unsecured car dealership and mechanic property, where the teens found an unlocked vehicle with the keys in the ashtray. The two teenagers decided to go for a joyride, though the driver did not have a driver’s license and was drunk and high. As most could anticipate, the driver got into a serious single-vehicle accident, and the passenger suffered a catastrophic brain injury as a result.

After the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s decision that Rankin’s Garage was negligent, the Supreme Court of Canada was forced to conduct a thorough analysis to determine if a duty of care existed.  In a split decision, 7-2, the majority for the Court determined that “this case [could] be resolved based on a straightforward application of existing tort law principles” by applying the Anns-Cooper test.[2] Based on the application of the test, the Court affirmed that what needs to be “reasonably foreseeable” is not only the risk of theft, but that the type of harm suffered – in this case, devastating personal injuries – was reasonably foreseeable to someone in the position of the thief, when considering the security of the vehicles stored at the garage. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a commercial car garage did not owe a duty of care to a person who was injured following the theft of a vehicle from its premises.

Implications for Tort Law

  • The decision in Rankin’s demonstrates that risk needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and a duty of care must be based on the reasonably foreseeable risk of harm rather than just a mere possibility of such harm. The outcome of Rankin’s is likely to result in greater attention being paid to the foreseeability inquiry in future negligence cases.
  • While the majority’s decision clarified that a business will only be liable in this kind of situation where both the theft and the unsafe operation of the stolen vehicle should have been foreseen, it indicated that a defendant may still owe a duty of care even if a plaintiff participates in criminal activity.
  • The question that remains is whether or not individual automobile owners owe a duty of care to those injured as a result of the theft of their car. The Rankin’s decision illustrates that cars are not inherently dangerous, and storing them (whether for commercial or personal reasons) will only create a reasonably foreseeable risk in certain circumstances.

Contact the lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for more information about your rights, and the options available to you.

[1] Rankin (Rankin’s Garage & Sales) v JJ , [2018] 1 SCR 587, 2018 SCC 19 (CanLII)

[2] Cooper v Hobart, [2001] 3 SCR 537, 2001 SCC 79