09/21/2009

AMO released a draft paper: Seeking Joint and Several Liability Reform.
Background:

Under the Negligence Act, joint and several liability dictates that damages may be recovered from any of the defendants regardless of their individual share of the liability. For municipalities, as a public organization with taxation power and “deep pockets”, this means even a finding of slight or minimal liability can result in responsibility for millions of dollars in damage awards, especially in cases where other liable parties do not have sufficient assets. Municipalities are targeted deliberately in some instances because of this reason. It has resulted in steadily increasing costs for municipalities, well out of proportion to actual responsibility and led some to withdraw services to limit liability exposure.  

In support of advocacy on this issue, AMO established the Municipal Liability Reform Working Group last year. Members of the group made a presentation at the August 2009 AMO Annual Conference. Today the group presents a draft paper for municipal comment and feedback. The AMO Board will consider a final version of the paper to be sent to the Attorney General.

Action:

In support of efforts on this issue, municipalities are encouraged to provide: 

  • Examples of where services offered to the public have been cut or reduced as a result of liability or risk management concerns;
  • Examples of judgements awarded against municipalities where joint and several liability was an issue or where out of court settlements were reached because of it; and
  • Thoughts and comments regarding the paper.
Please provide feedback to Matthew Wilson, Senior Policy Advisor at mwilson@amo.on.ca by Friday October 16, 2009.