Recent Ontario Decision On Jurisdictional Issues

Jurisdictional issues have been the focus of attention by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal of late.

The jurisdiction of the Ontario court to entertain legal actions on the part of individuals resident in Ontario but injured in out-of-province accidents was reviewed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in its recent decision of Tamminga v. Tamminga, 2014 ONCA 478

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17 has established four presumptive connecting factors in tort actions.  If any connecting factor is present, the Ontario Court will take jurisdiction.  The connecting factors are:

1.  The defendant is domiciled or resident in the province;
2.  The defendant carries on business in the province;
3.  The tort was committed in the province; and
4.  The contract connected with the dispute was made in the province.

Absent any of these connecting factors, with one notable exception, the tort case does not belong in this jurisdiction. This is particularly important in circumstances where plaintiffs are injured in other provinces or in states of the United States, as they occasionally are, by tractor-trailers.

One exception is the decision in Cesario v. Gondek, 2012 ONSC 4563, a motion decision where the plaintiff was successful in maintaining a tort action in Ontario for injuries sustained in New York state. The plaintiff was injured in 2 motor vehicle accidents that occurred 4 weeks apart, one in New York and one in Ontario. There was one statement of claim, the defendants were alleged to be jointly and severally responsible and the court found that the damage claims were not severable.

The entire action was permitted to proceed in Ontario, on the basis of the facts set out above.

In light of Tamminga and Van Breda, it appears clear that damages suffered in Ontario or a claim against the plaintiff’s own insurer are insufficient to found jurisdiction in this jurisdiction.


For more information on this topic, or others, please contact our firm.

This blog entry has been placed on our website to inform readers in a general way of the authors’ view of the law at the time of its presentation. It is not intended as legal advice and no reliance may be placed on its contents. Some principles of law or procedure may have changed and may no longer be applicable since its publication. The authors and our firm disclaim any liability arising from reliance on any part of this blog entry.


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