Author: Adam R. Little
If you are the parent of a child under the age of 18, did you know that you may be held responsible for your child’s actions if they cause damage or harm?
In 2000, the Ontario government passed legislation called the Parental Responsibility Act. Firstly, this legislation allows victims of theft or property damage to sue the parents of a minor in Small Claims Court for their damages. The parents will be found automatically responsible, unless they can prove they were exercising “reasonable supervision” over the child at the time of the activity in question, and they had made “reasonable efforts” to prevent or discourage the child from engaging in such activity.
Secondly, the Parental Responsibility Act has a much more sweeping effect. The legislation states that in all other litigation outside of the Small Claims Court, a parent will be assumed to have failed to exercise reasonable supervision and control over the child, unless they can prove otherwise. This is known as a “reverse onus” provision.
The consequences of the Parental Responsibility Act may be significant if your child causes an injury to someone else. Thankfully, most home insurance policies will provide coverage for such losses. As such, if you are the parent of a child under 18, you should review your insurance policy and confirm you have adequate coverage in place.
Oatley, Vigmond is Ontario’s Personal Injury Law Firm. If you or someone you know requires assistance with a personal injury claim, we may be able to help.