Navigating Municipal Liability: A Case Study in Road Maintenance Standards



In a legal battle that spanned years, one woman’s fight for justice shed light on the complexities of municipal liability and road maintenance standards. This case study delves into the journey of Patrizia, who sought recourse after a tragic accident on snow-covered roads in Milton, Ontario.


Patrizia’s ordeal began on a snowy April morning as she commuted to work. Despite weather forecasts predicting adverse conditions, the Town of Milton had not scheduled patrols to monitor and clear the roads. Patrizia’s car spun out of control, resulting in serious injuries. Blaming negligence on the part of the Town of Milton and the Region of Halton, Patrizia initiated legal proceedings.

Legal Battle

After a protracted trial, Patrizia secured a favorable judgment, holding the defendants liable for negligence. However, the defendants appealed, arguing that the Minimum Maintenance Standards absolved them of responsibility. They contended that they had more time before taking action under the standards.

Legal Strategy

Engaging skilled legal representation, Patrizia prepared for the appeal. Analysis of the defendants’ arguments revealed a focus on legal interpretation rather than factual disputes. Patrizia’s legal team crafted a compelling Factum to counter the defendants’ assertions and uphold the trial judge’s decision.


The Court of Appeal ruled in Patrizia’s favor, emphasizing that the Minimum Maintenance Standards did not cover aspects such as weather monitoring and patrol scheduling. Despite this victory, the legal saga continued as the defendants sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, citing the case’s significance for municipalities.


After a prolonged legal battle, the Supreme Court of Canada’s refusal to hear the appeal marked the end of Patrizia’s journey for justice. Her case serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of road maintenance standards and the accountability of municipalities in ensuring public safety. Through perseverance and legal advocacy, Patrizia achieved closure, albeit after enduring significant challenges and delays in the pursuit of justice.

Allan Rouben represented Patrizia in court and wrote a case study for the case here.