Proposed New Legislation Will Make It Nearly Impossible To Sue The Provincial Government

July 11, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The Ontario government wants to make it much harder for people to sue them. By some accounts it will be nearly impossible to sue the government once the legislation passes.

The proposed new legislation will restrict many claims against the province, and it will require that court approval be obtained before any action may be commenced.  Applicants will have to prove to judges that province acted in bad faith or in a negligent manner before any proceedings can begin. Full disclosure on the part of the government may not be required at this point though.

These changes will increase the legal threshold necessary to proceed with civil litigation including class action lawsuits against the provincial government. It will also limit the instances in which the provincial government could be held financially liable for compensation to plaintiffs in successful litigation. The consensus is that it will become nearly impossible to sue the government even when it has acted in bad faith or if it breaches the duties of office.

Critics quoted in the CBC news say of the proposed legislation that “One way to look at it is that the government is saying, 'With great power should come no responsibility”- Kevin Wiener , Toronto lawyer

This legislation (Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, 2019, S.O. 2019, c. 7, Sched. 17) was buried in the budget and will repeal and replace the Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act. The legislation outlines government liability in cases of negligence and misfeasance. Key sections of the legislation include 9, 10 and 11 that limit liability.  Section 17 outlines what needs to be done to bring the claim seeking court approval with limited information.

The Legislation will also apply retroactively to existing cases like class action lawsuits and may derail cases that are already ongoing.

The government has indicated that the purpose of the legislation is to codify common law and to reduce the number of frivolous and unmerited cases. This will save time and money for the courts and taxpayers.


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