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ONCA kills tort of harassment


The Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected harassment as an independent tort, (i.e. a specific wrong which can be sued upon): Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 ONCA 205. T

The Supreme Court of Canada has, in the past, said that Human Rights tribunals are the proper places for harassment complaints: Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology v. Bhadauria.

For further commentary please see: “No Tort of Harassment for You!” by Omar Ha-Redeye; “Tort of Harassment Abolished in Ontario, Canada” by David J. Master and Monty Verlint; and “The Verdict is In: Ontario Court of Appeal Finds No Tort of Harassment (Yet)” by Susan MacMillan and Shereen Aly.

A key quote from Master and Verlint:

“While this is a welcome decision for employers, it remains critical for employers to continue to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment … in the workplace, including but not limited to providing training, having appropriate workplace policies and investigating any incident or complaint of harassment…”

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