Carfra Lawton LLP | Victoria BC

Occupiers get credit for good-faith safety measures

An occupier of a premises must ensure that the premises are reasonably safe, not perfectly so. In Biason v. Loblaws 2016 BCSC 1600 the plaintiff entered a busy grocery store on a rainy day. Store staff had placed large mats at the entrance of the store to limit the amount of water tracked into the store. Two of the mats slightly overlapped. The plaintiff’s foot caught on the edge of the overlap and she fell to the floor, injuring herself.

The court recognized that the store’s intention with the mats was to try to protect customers from a risk that grocery stores are all too familiar with – the risk of slips and falls due to wet floors. The grocery store provided evidence that it took safety seriously. The court held that a grocery store should not be faulted for putting mats out to try to protect customers, unless the mats became buckled or wrinkled.

This case shows that the court will give an occupier credit for safety measures, even when imperfectly implemented.

Case law summary by Karen Orr