Towards a Reasonable Balance: Addressing Growing Municipal Liability and Insurance Costs Submission
AMO’s advocacy efforts on joint and several liability in no way intends for aggrieved parties to be denied justice or damages through the courts. Rather, municipal governments seek to highlight the inequity of how much “deep pocket” defendants like municipalities are forced to pay, for both in and out of court settlements.
It is entirely unfair to ask property taxpayers to carry the lion’s share of a damage award when a municipality is found at minimal fault or to assume responsibility for someone else’s mistake. Municipal governments cannot afford to be the insurer of last resort. The principle of joint and several liability is costing municipalities and taxpayers dearly, in the form of rising insurance premiums, service reductions and fewer choices. The Negligence Act was never intended to place the burden of insurer of last resort on municipalities.
As public organizations with taxation power and “deep pockets,” municipalities have become focal points for litigation when other defendants do not have the means to pay. At the same time, catastrophic claim awards in Ontario have increased considerably. In part, joint and several liability is fueling exorbitant increases in municipal insurance premiums.
Read AMO's Towards a Reasonable Balance: Addressing Growing Municipal Liability and Insurance Costs Submission to the Attorney General of Ontario.