Martin v AGO et al.: The Standard of Care Required of an Occupier is not One of Perfection

  • March 20, 2023
  • Lujza Csanyi

In Martin v AGO et al.[1], the Ontario Superior Court reiterated that the standard of care required of an occupier under Section 3(1) of the Occupiers’ Liability Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.2 (the “Act”) is one of reasonableness and not perfection. Although the standard of care is fact-specific, occupiers are not responsible for eliminating every conceivable form of danger on the premises.[2]


On a rainy summer day, the plaintiff slipped and fell on the ground floor of the John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton, tearing his hamstring in the process.[3] The fall was caused by what the parties agreed was a “small amount of water” that had accumulated on the ground from another visitor’s wet umbrella.[4]

The plaintiff brought an action for damages, claiming that the owner, property manager, and contractor responsible for performing janitorial services breached the standard of care required under section 3(1) of the Act, and were otherwise negligent in patrolling and cleaning the hallways.[5]

At trial, the Court considered two key issues[6]:

1. Whether the defendants breached the standard of care; and

2. If so, whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.