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Due Diligence Required to Identify Liable Parties

In Ali v. City of Toronto, 2020 ONSC 5888, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to add a winter maintenance contractor to the action after the expiry of the presumptive two year limitation period.

The accident occurred in February 2017. The plaintiff slipped and fell on a City of Toronto sidewalk. She sued the City of Toronto in October 2017.

In July 2019, the City’s counsel advised plaintiff’s counsel that a winter maintenance contractor was responsible for snow clearing, sanding, and salting of the sidewalks in the area of the accident. The plaintiff brought a motion to add the contractor in August 2019. It was ultimately heard in July 2020.

Master McGraw denied the plaintiff’s motion to add the contractor because the plaintiff did not exercise sufficient due diligence to determine whether a contractor was responsible for maintaining the sidewalk.

Master McGraw stated that the presence of snow and ice on a City sidewalk was a trigger which should have caused the plaintiff or her counsel to inquire into the existence of a winter maintenance contractor for the City. All the plaintiff was required to do was send a letter or email or make a phone call.