CANADIAN TORT LAW In A Nutshell: #1 Full Help Guide

Basic Introduction To Canadian Tort Law

Canadian tort law is the main pillar of the Canadian legal system. Tort law in Canada concerns the treatment of the law of torts. It provides compensation for the people who have been affected by the wrong act of other people. A tort means a wrongful act that leads to physical, emotional, or economic damage to a person.

If the property of a person has been damaged by the wrongdoing of another person then the second person is held responsible to pay the compensation amount. Tort law is concerned with the social issues of the society and it is somehow connected to the Civil law. 

Canadian tort law is concerned with the high profile Canadian cases that involve abuse of children and women. It also involves the liability of governments for failure to protect its citizens from contagious diseases. The distribution of faulty medical gadgets also lies in the domain of tort law. A person/company is held responsible if it provides damages to a person.

What Is A Tort?

The word tort is derived from the Latin word tortum that means wrongdoing or injustice. Tort law is used by individuals to claim compensation. The basic purpose of the tort law is to compensate damages to the victims. Most tort law is judge-made.

Categories Of Canadian Tort Law

Canadian tort law is primarily derived from English tort law. Canadian government has set its own standards for medical liability, defamation, and negligence. The two main categories of tort law are intentional tort and unintentional tort. The basic difference between intentional torts and unintentional torts is intent.

Intentional tort occurs when a person wants to give a damage or injury to the property of a person, whereas an unintentional tort such as negligence occurs when there has been a lack of duty of care. In an intentional tort a person is unable to foresee the damage or injury and no intention is involved in farming a person.

A person who is a defendant in a tort lawsuit is known as a tortfeasor. That person is awarded compensation . All torts need proof of negligence in order to determine the legal responsibility. The Canadian criminal law includes such offences that also qualify as tort law under common law. But the accused are not charged criminally due to the weak financial condition of the victims .


If a wrongdoer provides harm to a person then the victim must be provided the compensation for the losses. Compensation may cover medical treatment, lost wages,  present healthcare, and the costs of future treatment. If a tort causes the death of a person then the dependents are entitled to seek compensation from the person that is responsible for tort. Tortfeasor must provide compensation for the loss of wages or support to the dependents that they obtained from the person who died. Canadian tort law allows the recovery of damages for the sorrow and grief of survivors.

Economic Torts

If a person interferes with the economic issues of some other person then that is held liable under the the economic torts of Canadian tort law. Economic tort includes breaching of a contract. Conspiracy also belongs to this type of tort.


If a person does not know who is liable for the accident then it is very difficult to claim the compensation. It is very unfair that a person suffers injuries due to an accident that happened due to the fault of another person. Some people think that it is in-justice that persons who are unable to prove that their damages resulted from someone else’s negligence are left to bear those damages on their own.

Canadian tort law is not fully able to compensate adequately to all those people injured at work or on the road. Therefore every province in Canada has workers’ compensation legislation. Employees who are covered by workers’ compensation are not entitled to sue in tort. Many Canadian provinces have replaced tort law with “no fault” compensation schemes.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts belong to the most serious category because they are deliberate acts and the basic purpose is to damage another person. A common intentional tort in canadian tort law is battery

Canadian tort law also includes false imprisonment and workplace harassment. A person can also sue for a wrong act that is intended to cause physical or emotional distress. Personal injury cases can also be dealt in civil courts for damages.  Tort law is mostly used by the victims of workplace harassment or sexual assaults in which it is very easy to get compensation for the damages.

Detinue is refusing to return something belonging to another person. Trespassing also falls under the international torts. Canadian tort law also includes conversion which means interfering with another person’s things. Another most important tort is defamation which protects a person’s respect and reputation from false and fake material such as publishing of fake news or defamation through some print/electronic media.

Land And Product Liability

Land and product liability are important canadian torts. Land tort reform act implies that if a person interferes with the freedom of use of land will be liable for a private nuisance. Everyone who owns a building owes a duty of care to those people who visit and who are injured within the premises of that building. This is covered under the law of occupier’s liability.

Similarly if people are harmed by the use of wrong products then manufacturers are liable under the law of products’ liability. Manufacturing,  designing,  and marketing of unhealthy products makes the producers liable to those people who use those products.

The risk of breast implant rupture can cause serious problems to the women so the health care providers that are associated with this industry are responsible under the law of products liability. Women are also susceptible to the side effects of birth control pills so the pharmaceutical companies that prepare and produce these pills are held responsible under the product liability law.

Strict Liability

Tort and liability are directly related to each other. Strict liability and absolute liability in law of torts are the most important categories of Canadian tort law. In the USA and Canada, people keep dogs and some dangerous animals as pets. So if a person is injured due to the dog bite or some other act of the animal, then the owner of that animal is held liable for this act. And the victim is at right for a strict liability claim.

Strict liability meaning is that a person is held strictly liable if he/she brings something onto his land which is not naturally there. These may include domestic pets if they harm other people. If a person sets a fire in the bushes or a forest is held strictly liable for that act. A person who keeps wild animals is also strictly liable for the injuries caused by those animals.

Strict liability tort law has a form known as vicarious liability. In vicarious liability, an employer is liable for the torts committed by its employees during their employment. Strict liability product liability is another form of tort.

Torts Of Negligence

The law of negligence is based on the inability of a person to foresee the effect of an act on the life of other person. Negligence is the most common cause of injury rather than the intentional acts of others. This is known as the tort of negligence and it is the most important part of the modern torts. If people are injured with the negligence of themselves then they are held partly responsible for their damages under the contributory negligence defence.

Canadian tort law
Canadian tort law

New Torts In Canadian Tort Law

Recently, new torts have emerged in Canadian tort law such as invasion of privacy of a person has gained much importance in Canada. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Newfoundland have created a statutory tort in order to approach the tort of invasion of privacy in Canada while Ontario has recognized the existence of the tort of invasion of privacy called “intrusion upon seclusion”. 

Common law tort of discrimination 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.

Tort of negligence is applied to professional lawyers and engineers to force them to live up to higher standards of professionalism so that their hands and related people are not affected by their negligence. Similarly if a person from the Rescue Team is injured in an attempt to help those in dangerous conditions can sue the negligent person Who created that emergency situation.

Even state and state agencies are held responsible for the damages they caused the public in carrying out their functions or duties. The supporters of Canadian tort law have hailed these things. They think that these developments in Canadian tort law will help ordinary citizens to fight against more powerful people in society.

Court Case Involving Tort Law

In the end we will elaborate the court case involving Canadian tort law. Mr. Hill was charged with ten counts of robbery in a famous tort law case of Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board. He was soon acquitted of all charges and then he sued Hamilton’s police service. Hill argued that the police officers did not properly interview the witnesses. This led to the arrest of Mr.Hill. However the supreme court of Canada overturned Hill’s lawsuit because of lack of enough evidence.

The supreme court judges did not view the negligence claim as practical because it was the strict duty of care of policemen towards the suspects. The supreme court judges also argued that it was the mode of operation of police in terms of apprehending offenders and investigating crimes.

 If you are a law student, then this article is going to provide you the best help regarding Canadian tort law cases notes & materials. The author has put Canadian tort law in a nutshell.

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