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How to keep your commercial property safe this winter - Blog

By Staebler Insurance On Dec 16, 2021

With Ontario's "Slip & Fall" Claims Period Reduced, Here's What You Need To Do

The cold weather is here - bringing with it snow and ice, meaning that potentially dangerous walking conditions could be lurking around every corner. Responsible commercial property occupiers need to think ahead of these hazards as they are required to ensure the safety of their parking lots and sidewalks around their building.
 
Proper maintenance and safety isn’t just the responsibility of building owners, but also stores, services, and offices who are attracting customers and foot traffic to their premises.

As you may recall from a previous blog post, Ontario’s Bill 118, known as the "Occupiers’ Liability Act”, came into effect back in December of 2020. Bill 118 was designed to limit the length of time a plaintiff has to claim liability due to a slip and fall accident.

For individuals who suffer an injury from a slip and fall on snow or ice, they are now required to report the claim within 60 days, versus the previous claim period of two years from the incident date. Injury claim settlements and case payouts may be affected as the shorter claim period could lead to more accurate evidence being present in a more timely manner.

Even though the period of claim has been significantly shortened, property owners, occupiers, and the contractors hired for snow removal are still required to maintain safe parking lots, walkways, and surrounding areas. It’s an important annual reminder of the responsibilities of occupants to their visitors and patrons.

A few tips to ensure property safety:

  • Hire a reliable contractor to clear snow and ice in a timely manner (ask for references!)
  • Regularly inspect the property and look for hazards like: black ice, uneven surfaces, etc.
  • Be sure exterior lights and/or cameras are working.  If you have them, video surveillance recordings should ideally be backed up for at least two months (to cover the 60 day period)

The shorter claim period is also welcomed news for insurers, as they will have better access to timely evidence to respond to claims. Actions such as locating witnesses, obtaining statements, and viewing security camera footage, are much easier to do within a two-month period instead of the previous 24 months.

Liability can be a complicated type of insurance. That’s why it is important to have a reliable insurance broker who can provide risk management and advise you to ensure proper coverage and protect against claims.

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Be Wise. Staebler Insurance is a general insurance broker specializing in auto insurance, home insurance, small business, and commercial insurance. Staebler brokers proudly serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Listowel, Fergus, Elora, Wellington County, Perth County, Waterloo Region and southern Ontario. Get started with a free quote today.