Thompson (Litigation guardian of) v. Saanich
(District), 2015 BCSC 1750, per Baird J.
I. FACTS AND ISSUES
The Plaintiff was an 11 year old girl enrolled at a day
camp offered by the Defendant, the Corporation of the District of
Saanich (the "District") at the Gordon Head Middle School
in Victoria, B.C. During morning recess, the Plaintiff was in the
playground playing a game called Grounders (a variation of tag
played on playground equipment) with a number of children. While
playing the game, the Plaintiff fell from a piece of playground
equipment and struck her head.
The game was improvised and the children decided to play it; it
was not organized by the District's employees. Thompson and the
other children had played Grounders the previous day and on other
previous occasions without incident. At the time of the incident,
the program assistant supervising the playground knew the children
were playing Grounders and did not intervene to stop them. Indeed,
the assistant's evidence was that he had played the game as a
child and considered it harmless.
Thompson sued the District in negligence under the Occupiers
Liability Act, RSBC 1996, c 337 (the "OLA")
II. HELD: Action dismissed, District was entitled to costs if
demanded; no fault on the District for this unfortunate
1. The Plaintiff failed to establish
that the District exposed the Plaintiff to an unreasonable risk of
(a) The District owed the Plaintiff a
duty of care not to expose her to an unreasonable risk of
foreseeable harm. The standard of care under the OLA is
the same as common law, which is to be measured on an objective
(b) The game, Grounders, fell within
an everyday and reasonably safe range of playground activities for
someone with the Plaintiff's age and experience.
(c) The Court took judicial notice of
the fact that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, no mischief
comes from such innocent pleasures as games involving pursuit and
evasion commonly played by children.
(d) The risk of harm inherent in such
games is sufficiently remote that to permit children to play them
is not unreasonable.
2. The Plaintiff failed to establish
that the District failed to adequately supervise the playground
activities in which she was engaged
(e) The District's duty to the
Plaintiff did not include the removal of every possible danger that
might arise while she was in the care of its employees.
(i) The duty only required that the
District (and its employees) protect the plaintiff from
unreasonable risk of harm.
(f) A supervisor was close at hand,
minding the children through recess and was doing so diligently and
(i) There was no evidence that any
of the children behaved recklessly or aggressively or there was
anything hazardous about their manner of interaction.
(ii) The Plaintiff simply moved
backwards and lost her footing.
(g) While the District is vicariously
liable for the negligent conduct of its employees, it is not
strictly liable for any and all injuries sustained by children in
its temporary care or control.
(i) The Court stated that
"...the consequences of the plaintiff's misadventure
cannot transform the District into a no-fault insurer..." (at
(h) Perfection is not the standard of
care to be discharged by the District's employees.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Under B.C.'s former and current Limitation Act, the limitation period for a Plaintiff's claim can be extended on the basis of a Defendant having acknowledged in writing some liability for the cause of action.
Automobile drivers, like fine wine, tend to get better with age. Older drivers can draw on a wealth of experience from their years on the road to assist them when faced by a variety of dangerous conditions.
The insurance industry will be interested in Ledcor Construction Ltd v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co because of principles the Supreme Court of Canada applied to the "faulty workmanship" exclusion in a Builders' Risk policy.
For the first time in BC, a Court has decided that an insured is entitled to special costs, rather than the lower tariff costs, solely because they were successful in a coverage action against their insurer.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).