Premises Liability in Ontario

Falling under the Occupiers Liability Act, the basic definition or purpose of Premises Liability in Ontario is that home and property owners are legally liable and responsible for ensuring their property fosters and promotes an environment of safety for other individuals within reason.

What is considered to be a property where the occupier would be liable for the safety of others?  Some examples include:

  • Any parks, museums or recreational facilities;
  • Government buildings, roads, property
  • Private homes and their surrounding property
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants and stores

What kind of situations is it reasonably expected that an occupier to be responsible for? Some examples include but are not limited to:

An excellent example Premises Liability would be making sure your driveway is clean of snow and ice during the winter so if a delivery man is coming to drop off a package he does not risk slipping on the ice and injuring himself. If the driveway has not been cleaned properly and it results in the delivery man becoming injured, he is within his rights to sue the home owner for damages for negligent behaviour.

Compensation can be granted in the form of lost income (past and future), medical fees and bills, rehabilitation fees, monetary sum for pain and suffering etc. The type and amount of compensation will vary depending on the severity of the injury, the situation and the prognosis for the future. Insurance companies and lawyers generally handle these claims out of court, but in some cases they do go to trial to be ruled on by a judge.

Under the Occupiers Liability Act there are some exceptions and certain situations where the property owner cannot be held liable for damages. They are as follows:

  • Poor lighting on the property which results in limited visibility;
  • No clear signs or warnings of hazard or danger (if there is something dangerous on the property, for instance a violent guard dog or toxic waste);
  • Not clearing snow, ice or other dangerous debris from driveways, walkways or pedestrian pathways;
  • Broken stairs, crumbling structures etc.
  • Swimming pools not cordoned off safely.
  • If an individual is on someone’s property without permission i.e. trespassing or denied entry.
  • If the individual on the property is carrying out a criminal activity or they went on the property with the intention of committing a crime.
  • If there are danger or warning signs in place cautioning people against entry or telling them to be careful and these warnings are ignored.

In each of these three situations, if the individual slipped and fell on the aforementioned patch of ice, the homeowner cannot be held responsible since in these cases it is assumed the individual knew there may be risks associated with their behaviour and intentions and they were willing to assume those risks anyways.

  • If the individual exhibits careless or reckless behaviour which the homeowner could not have predicted. For example if someone stumbles on to a property heavily intoxicated or high on drugs and becomes injured through a fall or accident. This is a situation a homeowner could have no way of predicting or foreseeing.
  • If an individual visits a property for recreational purposes where there is no fee, for instance a private road, a hiking trail, a farm etc. and they get injured; the property owner may not be liable.
  • Finally if the injury to an individual was caused by a third party’s negligent behaviour, once again the property owner may not be at fault. For example, if the homeowner hired a snow removal company to remove the snow and ice from their driveway and the company failed to do so or did it poorly, then the delivery man’s injury is not the homeowners fault since they took the reasonable steps necessary to ensure their property was ‘safe’ and it was the contractor who dropped the ball.

There are of course exceptions to all these exceptions, especially if a child is injured since their level of maturity and understanding differs greatly from an adult’s and they cannot be reasonably expected to read signs or be aware of a hazardous situation.

Given the complex nature of premises liability the best thing to do if you find yourself in a situation where you feel you may be or could be held liable for an injury is to contact a lawyer. They will walk you through your rights and responsibilities and be able to guide you on what steps to follow.

Top 3 Things to Consider When Hiring A Toronto SEO Company

There is no shortage of people willing to take your hard cash to “do your Toronto SEO/online marketing/PPC/social media/etc” but how can we know they are reputable and capable of providing results? The simple answer to that difficult question lies in three main questions you should be asking yourself.

Often times business owners can get wrapped up in irrelevant factors such as charts, graphs, buzz words and other mumbo jumbo that at the end of the day is just meant to confuse you. The internet marketing field is littered with an abundance of sales people who don’t know the first thing about internet marketing or to be more specific, search engine optimization (SEO). They know how to convince you that they know how to do something, while just knowing enough about it in order to bluff their way through it.

Stop paying attention to all of the hoopla and focus in on these three main questions…

  1. Are They Local to Toronto?
    Toronto SEO Map
    99% of the people who call your business or end up in the spam box are not a local internet marketing firm, they come from overseas and are unqualified to get you results that you need for your business to succeed.The other 1% that contacts you might be from North America, but are they actually located in Toronto? Nope! They could be in New York City, Miami, Halifax or Vancouver. The problem that arises with working with a company that is not local is that they don’t have the intimate knowledge of Toronto’s online landscape. Take for simple example, someone from New York City might assume that Craigslist is the best place to buy a used sofa online while someone in Toronto would know that Kijiji is much more popular in Canada.Don’t trust your online marketing campaigns to someone who doesn’t intimately know the ins and outs of not only your industry and business, but also the geographical region in which you operate.
  2. Are they good at SEO?Toronto First Page Rankings on GoogleObviously a very important question would be whether or not they’re capable of getting you results, and this is where the graphs, charts and buzz words can confuse the issue. Don’t be dazzled by a bunch of promises and hypothetical projections. Instead, focus your attention on their results. If they’re a Toronto SEO company, their website should rank for Toronto SEO keywords in Google right?Think about it, they’re trying to convince you that the answer to your business’ problems is to get top rankings in Google. They too run a business and if they don’t practice what they preach, there’s only one possible reason why that could be. It’s that they simply don’t know how to rank a website in Google. They’re all too ready to line their pockets with your hard earned cash without the first clue on how to go about delivering what they promise.Don’t listen to testimonials by other clients of theirs, the proof should be in the pudding, in rankings and results for their own business. Often times if you ask for a testimonial or referral they’ll send you someone who either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or just recently signed on and is still in the honeymoon phase of signing up with them. Accept no substitute, tell them to show you what their business ranks for or tell them to move along.
  3. How much do they charge for their services?
    How Much Does Toronto SEO Cost?
    Now this is the golden question when it comes to online marketing, how much is this going to cost you? The truth is that it’s similar to asking how long a piece of string is.. the only possible answer is “It depends.” To rank in Google for “Toronto story reader” would be a lot easier than “Toronto DUI lawyer”. Similarly, ranking your website in more than one city, for example both Toronto and Montreal requires more resources than trying to rank for just a neighborhood or area in Toronto like Parkdale or even Etobicoke. This is why you should never trust SEO companies in Toronto that charge a flat rate like “$500 for 5 keywords” how can they possibly know the effort involved in getting you ranked for those 5 keywords without even knowing your business? More importantly, what 5 keywords do they plan on ranking you for? The easiest ones that nobody searches for? Those types of cookie cutter packages are modeled in order to get you to sign up, hand over your credit card info and hopefully forget you’re paying them to do absolutely nothing.So the question remains, how much can you expect to pay for SEO in Toronto? The best way to explain it would be to say that you shouldn’t expect to pay peanuts. Anything below $1000 a month is going to be a total waste of money and you’re better off not spending it at all because it won’t produce any results. Ranking for difficult terms in a large city like Toronto requires resources and effort, and you can’t pay someone below minimum wage and expect them to provide you with results that can grow your business.Ask yourself, how much would it cost to run an ad on a daily basis in the Toronto Star or Toronto Sun? How much would it cost to hire a skilled technician? How much would it cost to hire a full time sales expert to increase your sales? A good Toronto SEO company that can provide you with results won’t come cheap, but they’re absolutely worth the investment because it’s the only way you can grow your business sustainably.

Well, there you have it… the top three tips on what you should consider before hiring a Toronto SEO company. Make sure you follow these three simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the kind of growth you’ve been trying to achieve.