We’ve all read these stories in the paper and shuddered at the facts. Someone plans a sunny vacation getaway in a tropical paradise and the unthinkable happens—he or she is seriously injured. If the accident had happened at a holiday resort or hotel in Ontario, you can sue for damages arising out of the accident. But what if you’re staying at a holiday resort or international hotel outside of Canada? Can you sue a foreign corporation in an Ontario court?

Injured While on Vacation

This actual situation happened a few years ago in Cuba. In one incident, an individual (the plaintiff), Ms. Van Breda, suffered catastrophic injuries after using faulty equipment set up on the beach. The equipment was owned by the resort where she was staying. Van Breda launched a lawsuit against the Cayman Island resort that operated the facility.

Before the lawsuit was settled, the question went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which also reviewed a separate incident where another individual on vacation in Cuba was killed. The decision in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda (“Van Breda”) was released this April 18, 2012.

Despite the fact that the accident involved happened in Cuba, it was decided that the injured person could sue in Ontario if one of the following factors existed:
• The vacation company was established in Ontario
• The vacation company was doing business in Ontario
• The injury happened in Ontario
• A contract connected with the dispute was made in Ontario

Protect Yourself When You Book

At Wynperle, we see the long term impact of catastrophic injuries on the lives of individuals and their families. If you are traveling abroad, our advice is to make sure you use a travel agent in Ontario. In many countries, you can’t sue for damages if the unthinkable happens. But if you make your arrangements with an Ontario based agent, your vacation contract is formed here—and you are much better protected.