There is a growing need for legislators to amend existing privacy rules in the face of rapidly advancing technology and growing data protection issues. The Commission recommends several changes to The Privacy Act that it believes would make the Act a more effective complement to more specific legislation.
Saskatchewan’s Privacy Act creates an action in tort for breach of privacy. The Act is vague and little-used. The Commission recommends reforms be considered to the plaintiff’s burden of proof and to the limited scope concerning public invasions, and that the legislation’s examples of violations include reference to new information technologies.
Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing often take visitors onto private or Crown land without the permission of the landowner. A landowner may be liable for injuries to visitors even if they are trespassers. The Commission recommends reducing liability of landowners who are not operating commercial recreation facilities.
This Report, issued in March 2003, completes the Commission’s project on the personal liability of board members in the not-for-profit sector. A consultation paper issued in July 2001 was the basis for consultations with the sector, the bar, and regulators. The report proposed significant limitation on the personal liability of directors and officers of volunteer organizations, which have not been adopted in substance in The Non-Profit Corporations Act.
A sector governed by volunteers needs protection, both for the volunteers and for the public. Safeguarding the public is paramount, but personal liability should not deter volunteers from seeking board membership in non-profit organizations. Recommendations include restricting personal liability, immunity for directors and officers, and reasonable restriction of that immunity to avoid gross misuse.
The Contributory Negligence Act allows a plaintiff to collect damages against any or all defendants held liable at trial for the plaintiff’s injuries. The goal of the contribution rules is to shift the burden of underpayment away from the plaintiff and onto contributing defendants. The Commission encourages discussion of the contribution rules, which sometimes produce unfair results.
Structured settlements provide compensation to a plaintiff in periodic payments instead of a lump sum. Though Saskatchewan courts approve settlements negotiated between parties, they lack jurisdiction to deliver structured judgments. The proposed Structured Judgments Act would allow courts to make structured awards while providing them with some guidance on the complexities involved.
A limitation period is a fixed period of time within which an action may be brought. If the time expires, then the action is barred. The Commission advocates that fixed time periods for limitations be retained, with an aim towards unity in limitation periods.
The Commission makes a number of recommendations on recovery by the estate of a deceased victim, and claims against a deceased wrongdoer. The report contains a draft Survival of Actions Act to amend unclear current legislation.
Under The Automobile Accident Insurance Act, lack of vehicle registration results in forfeiture of insurance coverage, which can bar tort recovery of loss in the case of an accident. The Commission believes that the Act should be amended so that loss of insurance benefits under the Act does not impair a claim against a negligent owner of another vehicle.
Guest passenger legislation was adopted all over North America in the 1920s and 30s to limit the liability of drivers for injuries suffered by passengers in their vehicles. Courts have whittled down liability limits, and the trend is now to remove these limits in statute. The Commission recommends that Saskatchewan amend its guest passenger laws to remove the liability limit.
The Commission recommends the enactment of The Occupiers’ Liability Act as set out in this report. The law as it stands currently is unnecessarily complex. Enacting this proposal can mitigate the confusion in the law.
The enactment of an Occupiers’ Liability Act is proposed in this Report. The law as it stands is unnecessarily complex. Enacting this proposal would mitigate the confusion in the law.
The Law Reform Commission recommends that Saskatchewan abolish interspousal tort immunity and extend this abolition to The Insurance Act, where it serves only to help insurance companies avoid payments. This final report goes beyond the previous proposal on the topic in recommending repeal of an additional subsection of The Insurance Act.
Interspousal tort immunity is based on the archaic fiction of the unity of husband and wife, and is not supported by any of the arguments offered in its defence. If the abolition of interspousal tort immunity is to have any significant practical consequences, it must be accompanied by repeal of bars to damage recovery in intrafamily torts.