This archived statute consolidation is current to November 8, 1991 and includes changes enacted and in force by that date.

Occupiers Liability Act

[RSBC 1979] CHAPTER 303

  1.  Interpretation
  2.  Application of Act
  3.  Occupiers' duty of care
  4.  Contracting out
  5.  Independent contractors
  6.  Tenancy relationship
  7.  Negligence Act
  8.  Crown bound
  9.  Not to affect certain relationships


1.  In this Act

"occupier" means a person who

(a) is in physical possession of premises; or

(b) has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of premises, the activities conducted on those premises and the persons allowed to enter those premises,

and, for this Act, there may be more than one occupier of the same premises;

"premises" includes

(a) land and structures or either of them, excepting portable structures and equipment other than those described in paragraph (c);

(b) ships and vessels;

(c) trailers and portable structures designed or used for a residence, business or shelter; and

(d) railway locomotives, railway cars, vehicles and aircraft while not in operation;

"tenancy" includes a statutory tenancy, an implied tenancy and any contract conferring the right of occupation, and "landlord" shall be construed accordingly.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-1,6(5).

Application of Act

2.  Subject to section 3 (4), and sections 4 and 9, this Act determines the care that an occupier is required to show toward persons entering on the premises in respect of dangers to them, or to their property on the premises, or to the property on the premises of persons who have not themselves entered on the premises, that are due to the state of the premises, or to anything done or omitted to be done on the premises, and for which he is by law responsible.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-2.

Occupiers' duty of care

3.  (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take that care that in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that a person, and his property, on the premises, and property on the premises of a person, whether or not that person himself enters on the premises, will be reasonably safe in using the premises.

(2) The duty of care referred to in subsection (1) applies in relation to the

(a) condition of the premises;

(b) activities on the premises; or

(c) conduct of third parties on the premises.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an occupier has no duty of care to a person

(a) in respect of risks willingly accepted by that person as his own risks, or

(b) who enters premises that the occupier uses primarily for agricultural purposes and who would be a trespasser under the Trespass Act,

other than a duty not to

(c) create a danger with intent to do harm to the person or damage to his property, or

(d) act with reckless disregard to the safety of the person or the integrity of his property.

(4) Nothing in this section relieves an occupier of premises of a duty to exercise, in a particular case, a higher standard of care which, in that case, is incumbent on him by virtue of an enactment or rule of law imposing special standards of care on particular classes of person.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-3; 1989-64-31.

Contracting out

4.  (1) Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), where an occupier is permitted by law to extend, restrict, modify or exclude his duty of care to any person by express agreement, or by express stipulation or notice, the occupier shall take reasonable steps to bring that extension, restriction, modification or exclusion to the attention of that person.

(2) An occupier shall not restrict, modify or exclude his duty of care under subsection (1) with respect to a person who is

(a) not privy to the express agreement; or

(b) empowered or permitted to enter or use the premises without the consent or permission of the occupier.

(3) Where an occupier is bound by contract to permit persons who are not privy to the contract to enter or use the premises, the duty of care of the occupier to those persons shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in that contract, not be restricted, modified or excluded by it.

(4) This section applies to all express contracts.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-4; 1975-4-12.

Independent contractors

5.  (1) Notwithstanding section 3 (1), where damage is caused by the negligence of an independent contractor engaged by the occupier, the occupier is not on that account liable under this Act if, in all the circumstances,

(a) the occupier exercised reasonable care in the selection and supervision of the independent contractor; and

(b) it was reasonable that the work that the independent contractor was engaged to do should have been undertaken.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not be construed as restricting or excluding the liability of an occupier for the negligence of his independent contractor imposed by any other Act.

(3) Where there is damage under the circumstances set out in subsection (1), and there is more than one occupier of the premises, each occupier is entitled to rely on subsection (1).

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-5.

Tenancy relationship

6.  (1) Where premises are occupied or used by virtue of a tenancy under which a landlord is responsible for the maintenance or repair of the premises, it is the duty of the landlord to show toward any person who, or whose property, may be on the premises the same care in respect of risks arising from failure on his part in carrying out his responsibility, as is required by this Act to be shown by an occupier of premises toward persons entering on or using them.

(2) Where premises are occupied by virtue of a subtenancy, subsection (1) applies to a landlord who is responsible for the maintenance or repair of the premises comprised in the subtenancy.

(3) In this section

(a) a landlord is not in default of his duty under subsection (1) unless his default would be actionable at the suit of the occupier;

(b) nothing relieves a landlord of a duty he may have apart from this section; and

(c) obligations imposed by an enactment in respect of a tenancy are deemed imposed by the tenancy.

(4) This section applies to all tenancies.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-6.

Negligence Act

7.  The Negligence Act applies to this Act.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-7.

Crown bound

8.  (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2), the Crown and its agencies are bound by this Act.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), this Act does not apply to the Crown in right of the Province or in right of Canada or to a municipality where the Crown or the municipality is the occupier of a public highway or public road or a road under the Forest Act or the Private Roads Act, 1963, or to an industrial road as defined in the Highway (Industrial) Act.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-8; 1977-75-13; 1978-23-166.

Not to affect certain relationships

9.  This Act does not apply to or affect the liability of

(a) an employer in respect of his duties to his employee;

(b) a person by virtue of a contract for the hire of, or for the carriage for reward of persons or property in, any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other means of transport;

(c) a person under the Hotel Keepers Act; or

(d) a person by virtue of a contract of bailment.

Historical Note(s): 1974-60-9.

[Editorial Note(s): see also draft uniform Occupiers' Liability Act to be found as stated in the Users Guide to Statutes in the beginning of this volume.]