As an HR professional in Canada, it’s important to have a basic understanding of tort law. Tort law is an area of law that deals with civil wrongs, injuries, and damages that are inflicted on one person by another. In Canada, tort law is governed by common law and provincial legislation. In this article, we’ll explore the key concepts of tort law in Canada, including types of torts, elements of a tort claim, and employer liability.
Types of Torts in Canada
Torts in Canada can be broadly categorized as intentional, negligence-based, or strict liability. Intentional torts occur when one person intentionally causes harm to another person or their property. Examples of intentional torts include assault, battery, false imprisonment, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Negligence-based torts occur when a person fails to act with reasonable care, and this failure results in harm to another person or their property. For example, if an employee is injured on the job because the employer failed to provide proper safety equipment, the employee may have a claim for negligence.
Strict liability torts are those where the defendant is held liable for harm caused regardless of their fault or intent. Examples of strict liability torts include product liability and environmental torts.
Elements of a Tort Claim in Canada
To prove a tort claim in Canada, the plaintiff (the person who has suffered harm) must establish several elements. These elements vary depending on the type of tort. However, most tort claims require the plaintiff to show that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach caused them harm.
The duty of care is a legal obligation to take reasonable care to avoid harming others. For example, an employer has a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of their employees. If the employer fails to take reasonable care, they may be held liable for any harm caused.
Employer Liability in Canada
Employers in Canada have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of their employees. This duty arises from both common law and provincial occupational health and safety legislation. Employers who fail to take reasonable care may be held liable for any harm caused to their employees.
In addition to this general duty of care, employers in Canada may also be held liable for specific torts. For example, employers may be held liable for the intentional torts of their employees if those employees were acting within the scope of their employment. Employers may also be held liable for negligence-based torts, such as failing to provide adequate training or equipment to employees.
To avoid liability, employers in Canada should take reasonable care to ensure the safety of their employees. This may involve implementing safety policies and procedures, providing appropriate training and equipment, and monitoring the workplace for potential hazards.
Tort law is an important area of law for HR professionals in Canada to understand. By understanding the types of torts, elements of a tort claim, and employer liability, HR professionals can help their organizations avoid potential legal issues. Employers in Canada have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of their employees, and failure to do so may result in liability for torts. By taking steps to prevent harm and promote safety in the workplace, employers can minimize their exposure to tort claims.