LCO Launches Public Consultation on Joint and Several Liability under the Ontario Business Corporations Act



TORONTO, April 22, 2010 – The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today launched a public consultation for its project on Joint and Several Liability that will develop recommendations for possible changes to the Ontario Business Corporations Act  (OBCA).

Legislated corporate governance provisions impose liability on persons with primary control of a company (directors and officers) and “gatekeepers” such as auditors and lawyers who are, under certain conditions, subject to civil liability.  Auditors may be liable, for example, if there are misrepresentations or omissions in the financial materials and statements they prepare for their clients.

The OBCA provides for joint and several liability, allowing a successful plaintiff to recover all damages from any one tortfeaser, regardless of the degree of fault.

“Other jurisdictions have been enacting reforms in this area,” said the Executive Director of the LCO, Dr. Patricia Hughes, “resulting in considerable interest by individuals and organizations in examining the OBCA to discover what changes it needs to make it a more modern and effective statute that best serves the interests of Ontarians.”

The LCO has developed a Consultation Paper in this project on which it seeks public input. Written submissions on the Consultation Paper will be accepted until June 30, 2010. The Paper also explains how people may provide feedback in more informal ways.

Launched in September 2007, the LCO is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Law Society of Upper Canada and supported by the law deans of the other Ontario law schools. It operates independently of government to recommend reforms to enhance access to justice.


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Contact: Professor Poonam Puri, Osgoode Hall Law School and Law Commission Fellow
Law Commission of Ontario