Most people do not know that when you sue a city for a personal injury such as from a city sidewalk fall, you have to give the city notice of your claim within 10 days from the date the incident occurred.

Notice to the City

Section 44(10) of the Municipal Act, 2001 (Ontario) states:

No action shall be brought for the recovery of damages under subsection (2) unless, within 10 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim and of the injury complained of, including the date, time and location of the occurrence, has been served upon or sent by registered mail to,

(a) the clerk of the municipality; or

(b) if the claim is against two or more municipalities jointly responsible for the repair of the highway or bridge, the clerk of each of the municipalities.  2001, c. 25, s. 44 (10); 2017, c. 10, Sched. 1, s. 4. [Updated 2017]

Section 44(12) goes on to state:

Failure to give notice or insufficiency of the notice is not a bar to the action if a judge finds that there is reasonable excuse for the want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the municipality is not prejudiced in its defence. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 42.

Reasonable Excuse

In an appeal to the Ontario Appeal Court, the panel in Crinson v. City of Toronto, the court took a liberal approach to Section 44(12) and the “Reasonable Excuse.” The Plaintiff fell on an icy sidewalk and broke his ankle. He gave notice of his claim 5 months later. The court stated that “Evidence showed Plaintiff was feeling anxious, confused and depressed and did not know about the limitation period.”

Failure to give notice may not be fatal if a judge finds that there is reasonable excuse for not doing so. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Douglas Strelshik Law.