On October 7, 2008 the Ontario government tabled Bill 108, An Act respecting apologies. The Bill has received first and second reading, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on October 23, 2008.
Introduced by Liberal MPP David Orazietti as a Private Member’s Bill in April 2008, the Bill will mean that an apology made by a person for any matter does not constitute an admission of fault or liability, or affect any insurance or indemnity coverage for any person regarding that matter. Further, an apology will not be considered when determining fault or liability.
In addition, evidence of an apology made by or on behalf of a person for any matter will not be admissible in any civil or administrative proceeding or arbitration as evidence of the fault or liability of any person regarding that matter. The Bill does not affect the admissibility of any evidence in a criminal proceeding or a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act, or the use that may be made of a conviction for a criminal or provincial offence in a civil or administrative proceeding or arbitration.
The proposed legislation is important in an era of transparency and disclosure; it will allow hospitals and practitioners to not only disclose adverse events but also to offer an apology without incurring additional liability.