Sidewalk Non-Repair

A recent decision of Justice Matheson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Hamilton found that a depression in a sidewalk of 5/8 of an inch does not constitute a state of non-repair, Anderson v. Hamilton, [2009] O.J. No. 4358.

The plaintiff had tripped over a small depression in the sidewalk and fell, breaking her wrist. The court confirmed that each case of non-repair of sidewalks is governed by its own factual basis and the affirmed the traditional formulations that a Municipality is "not an insurer" of anyone walking on its streets and that a Municipality does not have to keep its sidewalk as "smooth as a billiard table".

Further, the court held that the City of Hamilton did have a regular inspection routine for its sidewalks. The City inspects its sidewalks in Hamilton once a year. The court held that this was more inspection than some courts had called for, noting that in some cases inspections every three years have been acceptable. The City of Hamilton therefore was held to have satisfied the duty placed on it by having regular inspections.

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