It will soon be nearly impossible to sue the provincial government

December 17, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The Ontario government is making some significant changes to legislation in the province which will make it nearly impossible to sue the government. The legislation, which is in the budget, will make most government actions immune to civil suits.

The proposed legislation repeals and replaces the Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act. This is the legislation that outlines what the provincial liability is in cases of negligence and misfeasance. A significant component of this new legislation is that it will be retroactive in nature – this means that cases that are already in progress may be derailed. This will allow the slate to be wiped clean.

The result of the legislation will be that the government will be able to exercise power over Ontario that is negligent and causes harm, but that with this action there will be little responsibility. We will be unable to hold the government to account.

The threshold to action will be set too high. Under the new legislation plaintiffs will need to obtain permission from a court to move ahead with suing the government in the first place. Applicants will be required to demonstrate to a judge that the province has acted in bad faith or negligently before any proceedings can begin. Crown attorneys will also be permitted to cross-examine any applicant trying to obtain permission to launch a suit.

This will effectively sink any suits as appearing before the judge will require access to government materials and documents that the government will not be required to provide at that point.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney has indicated that the legislation is intended to “update outdated procedures and codifies the common law” and that “there is general agreement in common law world that government policy decisions are not justiciable and cannot give rise to tort liability. The proposed bill enshrines and clarifies that concept in an attempt to reduce frivolous and unmeritorious claims, saving time and money for the courts and taxpayers”.

Challenges to the legislation are anticipated from a variety of groups if the legislation receives royal assent.  Charter cases will be exempt from this legislation which is being widely described as an act that tries to escape liability.


Posted under Accident Benefit News

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-519-742-7774.

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