Mississauga may have to deal with winter slip-and-fall lawsuits after Supreme Court ruling
Published October 22, 2021 at 12:10 pm
Mississauga and municipalities across the country could soon feel the impact of a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada ruling handed down yesterday that says municipal snow removal activities are not immune from negligence and liability claims.
Under a new winter maintenance contract, the City of Mississauga is already planning to pay $17.7 million a year over the next eight years to clear the snow from the city’s roads and sidewalks.
Collectively, Canadian cities spend hundreds of millions of dollars on snow removal each year.
The case in question is a $1-million lawsuit brought about by a woman who injured her leg trying to climb over a snowbank in 2015 in Nelson, B.C. to get to the pavement after having parked her car.
Taryn Joy Marchi filed the suit against the City of Nelson, and lost her initial lawsuit. However, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned that decision and the City subsequently appealed to the highest court in Canada, which sided with Marchi and ordered a new trial.
The key question the seven Supreme Court justices were tasked with deciding was the legal distinction between “core policy decisions” made by governments, which are immune from liability and negligence claims, and “operational decisions” that are made while implementing policy, which are subject to liability claims.
The Supreme Court dismissed the City of Nelson’s appeal, refuting its argument that snow removal is a “core policy decision” and, therefore, immune from negligence claims.
Mississauga’s new snow removal contract runs through 2029.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies