Product Liability Cases in Canada

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Product Liability Cases in Canada

Product Liability Cases in Canada


Have you been injured by a defective product?


Do you have a claim against the manufacturer or seller?


An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you to learn more about product liability cases in Canada, and help to guide your claim. In Canada, product safety and liability is regulated by both the federal and provincial governments. Certain industries – such as aviation, automotive, drugs, and food – are federally regulated, with dedicated departments responsible for each area. Other sectors such as construction, electrical systems, the sale of goods, and consumer protection fall under Ontario provincial legislation and regulation.

In order to prove liability, you will need to demonstrate that the product was defective; in Ontario (and other provinces operating under common law) tort liability can arise from defects in any type of personal property. But how is “product defect” defined? It’s generally accepted that a product defect must be “unreasonably dangerous” to the user or the user’s property. The onus for proving that a product is “unreasonably dangerous” falls on the plaintiff; he or she must show that the product as designed, manufactured, or labelled, does not meet “reasonable” standards. (One thing to note is that the product will usually be judged by the standards that were present at the time it entered the market, not the standards at the time it caused harm.)

And – not only must the plaintiff prove that the product was defective, but also causation -- that the defect caused or contributed to his or her injury. The general test for causation in Canadian common law courts is known as the “but for” test; it asks the plaintiff to show that the injury would not have happened “but for” the negligence of the defendant. A plaintiff may also use the “failure to warn” strategy, proving that they would not have used the product (or would have used it differently) had they been properly warned.

Legal Basis


The manufacturer or the supplier of a defective product may be liable to a consumer who has been injured by it based on contract law or tort law principles. If a contractual relationship exists between the manufacturer and the customer, liability will usually be pursued on contract law principles. In some cases, liability in contract law principles and liability in tort law may exist concurrently.

Tort liability for injuries (or damage) caused by a defective product is based on negligence. There are basically three types of negligence acceptable in Canadian courts:

  1. Negligence design
  2. Negligent manufacture
  3. Failure to warn

However, it’s not simple to prove negligence. In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate that:

  • the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff with respect to the product
  •  the product was defective or “unreasonably dangerous”
  • the defendant failed to meet the standard of care
  • the defect caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries
  • the plaintiff’s damages were reasonably foreseeable

Canadian courts have decided that almost every member in the chain of product distribution may be found guilty of negligence. These might include:

  • manufacturers
  • importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers
  • repairers, installers
  • inspectors
  • product owners

When a product is harmful, company owners may also be held criminally responsible. Penalties for this may include fines of up to $5 million, and imprisonment for up to two years. However, a criminal trial must be held separately from any civil action.

Personal Injury Law Firms

If you have been harmed by a product, consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can be complex and may involve mass torts or class action. A personal injury law firm can help to assess your case and provide you with the best option for going forward.

Many people worry that hiring a lawyer will be expensive. However, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they receive a percentage of any settlement you receive. Because an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to negotiate, the compensation you receive will be greater than any you would receive if you did your own negotiating, so getting the help of a skilled lawyer only makes sense.

Finding the right lawyer can be a real game-changer for your family. A good personal injury lawyer understands that you may be undergoing one of the worst times in your life, and they will be there to help and support you. You might start by looking online for law firms in your area and seeing what they offer. Look for what is important to you. For example, if you prefer to communicate in a language other than English, look for a firm that offers multi-lingual services. Read lawyers’ bios and learn more about the kind of cases they handle. Then contact the firm and ask for a consultation. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you can meet with a prospective lawyer and get a feeling for how they would proceed with your case.

At Sokoloff Lawyers, we believe you should never worry about the cost of litigation - this is why we charge on a contingency fee basis. Our transparent communication helps our clients be fully aware of the fees before beginning the process of litigation.

Sokoloff Lawyers offers free opinions and free consultations and, if you are unable to come to us, we will visit you at your location of choice to fully understand the nature of your case. We also offer help with injury claim services in over 30 different languages to eliminate any confusion that may stem from language barriers.
Call Toll Free: 1 844 966 4878 (HURT)