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Court of Appeal Upholds Decision on Vicarious Liability of Employer

In Dagenais v. Pellerin, 2022 ONCA 76, the Court of Appeal rejected an employer’s argument that it was not vicariously liable for a motor vehicle accident.

The employee was a cement finisher who had been instructed by his supervisor to travel to a job site two hours away. While traveling to the job site, the employee decided to stop for a coffee and to stretch his legs. While making a left turn off the highway, he struck another vehicle.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the findings of the motion judge that the employee was specifically authorized to drive his own car to the job site and was entitled to a mileage allowance and up to four hours of wages for the driving time.

Further, the Court of Appeal agreed with the motion judge’s finding that the employer’s authorization included the employee taking a coffee break and stretching his legs during the drive. 

The small detour taken by the employee was not a “frolic of his own”, as had been concluded in another decision where the employee went off to socialize for a lengthy period during the drive.

Therefore, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the employer is vicariously liable for the negligence of the employee.