References:  SCC 51,  SCJ No 51,  2 SCR 403
Coram: McLachlin CJ and Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, LeBel and Deschamps JJ
Canlii (Supreme Court of Canada) Torts – Liability – Intentional torts – Abuse of children by foster parents – Whether government can be held liable for harm children suffered in foster care – Whether government negligent – Whether government vicariously liable for torts of foster parents – Whether government liable for breach of non-delegable duty – Whether government liable for breach of fiduciary duty.
Limitation of actions – Torts – Intentional torts – Abuse of children by foster parents – Whether government can be held liable for harm children suffered in foster care – Whether tort actions barred by Limitation Act – Limitation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 266, ss. 3(2), 7(1)(a)(i).
Torts – Damages – Intentional torts – Abuse of children by foster parents – Whether government can be held liable for harm children suffered in foster care – Proper basis for assessing damages for child abuse by parent or foster parent.
The court considered the difficulty of setting down a unifying principle of the idea of a non-delegable duty: ‘It may be that there is no single common law concept of non-delegable duty. Instead, the phrase seems to have been used to describe a number of situations in which special, non-delegable duties arise. If this is correct, then rather than seeking to state the doctrine in terms of a single principle, we should look to the different situations in which such duties have been found – an approach consonant with the traditional methods of the common law. In Lewis (Guardian ad litem of) v. British Columbia, 1997 CanLII 304 (SCC),  3 S.C.R. 1145, at para. 20, Cory J. suggested that these different situations comprise a ‘spectrum of liability’, and that ‘[w]ithin that spectrum there are a variety of legal obligations which may, depending on the circumstances, lead to a principal’s liability for the negligence of an independent contractor.’
This case is cited by:
- Cited – Woodland -v- The Swimming Teachers’ Association and Others QBD (Bailii,  EWHC 2631 (QB),  PIQR P3,  ELR 76)
The court was asked as to the vicarious or other liability of a school where a pupil suffered injury at a swimming lesson with a non-employee during school time, and in particular whether it had a non-delegable duty to ensure the welfare of children . .