Campbell et al. v The Municipal Corporation of the County of Bruce (2016 ONCA 317)

Warning signs are everywhere. You’ll see them on almost any property that is open to the public. But why are they there, and what are they supposed to do?

This issue came up in an Ontario Court of Appeal case, found here. In this case, a family of four went on a mountain biking trip to a park operated by the Municipality of Bruce. The park was built specifically for mountain bikers, and it was advertised for family trips. Unfortunately, the father of the family became a quadriplegic when he fell attempting an obstacle.

The municipality brought this case to the Court of Appeal. It argued that the man was an experienced mountain biker who accepted the risk when he attempted the obstacle. However, the Court found that the man could not have known the risk, since the park was advertised as family friendly and there were no adequate warning signs near the obstacle. In Ontario, the Occupiers Liability Act requires property owners to ensure that their properties are adequately safe before they are open to the public. This includes raising signs to indicate potential hazards.

Warning signs exist on properties to alert people to dangers that they may not see. If an occupier fails to have an adequate sign, they may be exposed to a personal injury action.