Nothing describes a cottage getaway quite like the patriotic
words, "glorious and free". However, with the glorious
freedom of time spent at the cottage comes potential risk. We
encourage you to review and implement the following precautions in
order to make your long weekend as safe as it is fun.
Under Ontario's Occupiers' Liability Act, if
you are either in physical possession of a cottage or have
responsibility for and control over the condition of a cottage,
then you owe a duty to take all reasonable care to ensure that all
people and their property are reasonably safe while on the premises
of that cottage. This means that you must take reasonable steps to
make certain that all areas of the cottage are safe, including
entrances, docks, and porches.
The first step to ensure that your cottage is safe is to have an
appropriate insurance policy in place. Typically, insurance for a
cottage is added to an existing homeowner's policy by virtue of
a "Seasonal Dwelling" endorsement (i.e. an addendum to
the policy). It is critical that this policy provides comprehensive
personal liability coverage in order to protect you against any
claims arising from accidents at the cottage.
Next, and before inviting any visitors to your cottage, inspect
the premises. Attend to any hazards so that the cottage is in a
good state of repair. If there are parts of the cottage that you
know or suspect to be hazardous, but are beyond your control to
repair, such as slippery surfaces, steep inclines, and shallow
water, post visible warning signs. An effective warning sign is one
that has clear and unambiguous language and is brought to the
attention of visitors. If an area is particularly dangerous, place
barricades to prevent visitors from entering the area and post
warning signs. It is crucial that you warn visitors with both
posted signs and verbal warnings about potential hazards at your
cottage. This could be the difference between a great getaway at
the cottage and a loved one getting hurt.
While visitors are on the premises of your cottage, make sure
that anyone who is operating equipment of any kind is sufficiently
supervised, experienced, and if required, licensed to do so. This
includes everything from using the barbecue or chainsaw to
operating a boat. Don't forget to properly extinguish all open
flames and dispose of hazardous garbage or debris, such as glass,
in an appropriate manner.
When alcohol is consumed at your cottage, you must be especially
vigilant in protecting visitors. Although you may not be
intentionally creating a situation of danger for a visitor, if
alcohol is served and you fail to act to prevent a foreseeable harm
to them, then you may be exposed to liability.
Having taken the above precautions, you will be able to have a
glorious and free Victoria Day weekend with your loved ones without
the need to stand on guard. We wish you a tranquil, warm, and safe
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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