OTTAWA -- If you slip and fall on icy steps, walkways, laneways, or property, the law is about to change in Ontario.

You will have to notify ‘the occupier’ much more quickly.

David Hollingsworth, a personal injury lawyer and founder of Ottawa Injury, tells CTV News Ottawa that the two year window is about to be changed to two months. 

"Before there was no formal written notice requirement.  It was a one-stop process, where you could just sue at the two year anniversary," said Hollingsworth.

"You are now required to provide written notice within 60 days of the incident." 

Ontario's Bill 118, the Act to amend the Occupiers' Liability Act, recently passed and will be implemented any day.

"For a slip and fall on private property that is due to ice and snow, you must serve the owner/occupier with written notice of the fall, the time, the date, and the precise location within 60 days of the incident by personal service or by registered mail." 

An incident on municipal property must be reported within ten days.

"For a slip and fall on municipal property, you must provide the city with written notice of the fall, the time, the date, and the location within 10 days of the incident by service on the City Clerk or by registered mail.”

Neither timeline applies if the fall results in death.

"Where the individual dies from the injuries and the court has discretion under reasonable circumstances to forgive late notice. The time to file a claim in court is two years from the date of the fall." 

If a fall occurs on private property

Hollingsworth says when a fall occurs on private property you must ascertain:

  • The legal owner of the property
  • Whether there is a tenant responsible for maintenance
  • Inquire as to whether there is a property manager, and a snow removal contractor.

You will want to ensure that all are put on notice of a claim.

"You will want to take photos of the location right away (if possible), and preserve your footwear," said Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth adds, "Even in the worst weather, owners and occupiers must continually keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition!"

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