Tort law in Canada concerns the treatment of the law of torts within the Canadian jurisdiction excluding Quebec, which is covered by the law of obligations. A tort consists of a wrongful acts or injury that lead to physical, emotional, or financial damage to a person in which another person could be held legally responsible.[1] The two main subcategories of tort law are intentional torts and unintentional torts.

Sources

As with most common-law countries, Canadian tort law is primarily judge-made law, much of which is inherited from English tort law, which is supplemented by mostly provincial regulatory laws such as provincial automotive safety Acts. The core of Canadian tort law has not strayed far from its English origins, however, it is in the evolving areas of law, such as nuisance, defamation, or medical liability, where Canadian jurisprudence has set out on its own. The defendant in a tort suit is called the tortfeasor, and most often, financial compensation is what tort victims acquire.[2] All torts require proof of fault in order to determine legal responsibility, however, fault is measured differently for the different types of tort.[3] The main difference between intentional torts and unintentional torts is intent. An intentional tort is when a person intends to achieve a particular outcome that results in injury to people or damage to property, whereas an unintentional tort such as negligence, occurs when there has been a lack of duty of care or foreseeability that results in injury to people or damage to property. There are criminal code offences in Canada that could also qualify as tort law under common law. However, most victims do not sue those who are criminally charged since the accused do not have the financial means to pay back the victim or because the accused is incarcerated.[4]

Intentional Tort

Except where excluded by statute, the common law intentional torts are applicable in Canada. This includes:

Privacy

This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: Since the ONCA decision on intrusion upon seclusion, Ontario courts have also recognized other privacy torts. Courts in several other provinces have also recognised these privacy torts since then. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2022)

Currently, there is no consistent approach surrounding the tort of invasion of privacy in Canada. Four provinces, British Columbia,[11] Manitoba,[12] Newfoundland[13] and Saskatchewan[14] have created a statutory tort. Ontario has recognized the existence of the tort of invasion of privacy called "intrusion upon seclusion".[15] British Columbia, on the other hand, has held that the tort does not exist in that province under the common law.[16]

There was some debate over whether there was a common law tort of discrimination. This was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court in Bhadauria v. Seneca College. This issue was further examined by the court through Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, [2008] 2 S.C.R. 362, 2008 SCC 39[17]

Unintentional Tort

Negligence occurs when the following concepts are not met:[18]

Court Case Involving Tort Law

In the case of Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board, Mr. Hill was charged with ten counts of robbery, however, he was soon acquitted of all charges. After the charges were dropped, he then sued Hamilton's police service as well as some of the officers who were involved in his arrest. Hill argued that the police were negligent in conducting a thorough investigation because the police officers did not properly interview the witnesses, which ultimately led to his arrest. Hill's lawsuit was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada because there was not enough evidence to support Hill's findings that the police were negligent in their duty or standard of care. What is important to note about this particular trial is that three out of the nine Supreme Court Judges did not view the negligent tort claim as being lawful or practical because a strict duty of care towards suspects would therefore interfere with how the police operate in terms of apprehending offenders and investigating crimes.[19]

References

  1. ^ Allen, Bill Van (2009). Police powers : law, order and accountability. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 43. ISBN 9780132429825.
  2. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 165. ISBN 9781552393833.
  3. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 165. ISBN 9781552393833.
  4. ^ Goff, Colin (2011). Criminal justice in Canada (5th ed.). Toronto: Nelson Education. pp. 21. ISBN 9780176501730.
  5. ^ See Bruce v Dyer (1966) 58 DLR (2d) 211
  6. ^ See Bettel v. Yim
  7. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 170. ISBN 9781552393833.
  8. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 171. ISBN 9781552393833.
  9. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 172. ISBN 9781552393833.
  10. ^ e.g. see Clark v. Canada (1994), 20 C.C.L.T. (2d) 241 (F.C.T.D.) and Nolan v. Toronto Metro Police [1996] O.J. No. 1764 (O.C.J.)
  11. ^ "Privacy Act". www.bclaws.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  12. ^ Justice, Manitoba. "Manitoba Laws". web2.gov.mb.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  13. ^ "RSNL1990 CHAPTER P-22 - PRIVACY ACT". www.assembly.nl.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  14. ^ "Privacy Act (Saskatchewan)" (PDF).
  15. ^ See "Jones v Tsige", 2012 ONCA 32
  16. ^ See Ari v Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2013 BCSC 1308. [1]
  17. ^ Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, [2008 2 S.C.R. 362, 2008 SCC 39]
  18. ^ Rock, Nora; Hoag, Valerie (2011). Foundations of criminal and civil law in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. pp. 166–167. ISBN 9781552393833.
  19. ^ Allen, Bill Van (2009). Police powers : law, order and accountability. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 255. ISBN 9780132429825.

Further reading