Be Nice and Clear Your Ice - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 05 January 2015

Be Nice and Clear Your Ice

As warned by Environment Canada in a special weather statement, Barrie and other parts of Ontario were hit by snow and ice over the weekend. Sandra Zisckind spoke with Dan Blakeley of Rock 95 / KoolFM to discuss snow removal and homeowner responsibility under the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

According to Sandra Zisckind, Diamond & Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers, homeowners are responsible for clearing the driveway, walkways and sidewalk in front of their home within a reasonable period of time. If not, you can be held liable.

Update: One user on our Facebook page asked: “Does this responsibility go as far as the staff at a public school clearing the snow from the sidewalk that runs in front of their school? So often we see that the accesses from the public sidewalk into the school is cleared by the school custodian but the actual city sidewalk that travels around the school is not plowed. Thanks”

Based on the Court of Appeal decision in Bongiardina v. York (Regional Municipality (2000), 2000 CanLII 5408 (ON CA), 49 O.R. (3d) 641 at paragraphs (19) to (21), an adjacent owner has no duty of care in respect of snow and ice accumulating on adjacent public sidewalks unless the adjacent owner either (a) assumes control of the sidewalk so as to be deemed to be an occupier of the sidewalk or (b) the adjacent owner fails to ensure that conditions or activities on its property do not flow off its property and cause injury to persons nearby. 

A school can be held liable for ice and snow that sits on City property if, for example:

(1) The City By-Laws required the school to remove ice and snow on the sidewalk, and the school removed the ice and snow in a negligent manner;

(2) The ice and snow came from meltwater from snow banks on school property.

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