If you live in Alberta, three things in life are certain: It will snow, it will snow even more, and someone will be responsible for clearing it. 

Commercial occupiers are required to provide reasonable measures to help protect visitors against sustaining a slip and fall injury on their property. In the winter, this usually means hiring a contractor to remove ice and snow to keep their outdoor property reasonably safe.

It’s crucial for occupiers to do their due diligence when selecting a contractor in order to best protect their customers’ wellbeing as well as protect themselves in the event of future litigation. With that in mind, here are a few pointers:

1) Clear and Reasonable Expectations: Prior to agreeing to a contract, occupiers must ensure it provides a clear scope of work. This includes details like accurate and understood locations to be cleared (include maps), when a clearing is to be conducted, and the equipment that will be used.
2) Monitor the Work: Occupiers have a duty to vet their contractor and regularly monitor and log their services. Once services start, it’s the responsibility of the occupier to ensure the work provided is acceptable and adheres to the contract’s terms.

3) Duty to Defend: A duty to indemnity clause that obligates the contractor to provide compensation following a plaintiff’s successful slip and fall claim is good, but a duty to defend clause is usually better. The latter will require the contractor to take a more active role in defence of the claim.


Contact our insurance litigation partners:

David Pick

Nabeel Peermohamed