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Ontario consulting on municipalities' worries on 'liability chill'

Doug Ford speaks at ROMA, Jan. 28, 2019. CITYNEWS

Premier Doug Ford says Ontario will look at municipalities’ concerns about so-called liability chill.

In a speech to the Rural Ontario Municipal Association today, Ford says the province will launch consultations about joint and several liability.

Rural municipalities have long been calling for reforms, saying they fear the legal convention could mean they face steep lawsuits for even minor injuries on public property.

Some have even taken to banning street hockey and tobogganing.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario says the liability rule means full damages can be recovered from a defendant who has minimal responsibility _ for example, if a drunk driver has no insurance, lawyers could go after the municipality, arguing that the road surface was partially responsible for a collision.

Ford says he has heard municipalities’ concerns about increasing insurance costs, and its time to look at the evidence and develop solutions that make sense.