Safe Cottage Celebrations

Every summer, a countless number of cottage parties, celebrations and gatherings are hosted in Ontario. While most of these celebrations never result in any sort of injury, many party goers are injured every year, sometimes catastrophically.

As the owner of a cottage or host of a party, you are governed by the Occupiers’ Liability Act. This act requires that you take reasonable steps to ensure that persons entering onto the property are reasonably safe while there.

The Occupiers’ Liability Act is very broad and can be triggered if a host or homeowner does or neglects to do something that jeopardizes the safety of their guests. In the cottage context, this could include not advising guests as to the depth of the water at the dock before permitting a guest to jump or dive, or allowing a person who does not have proper training to operate an ATV.

In order to ensure that your party goes off without the worry associated with someone getting injured, consider some of the following suggestions.

– When greeting guests, give them an explanation of any hidden or unusual dangers (such as low water levels, slippery stairs or poorly lit areas of the property.

– Post “no-diving” signs on your dock;

– If having fireworks, only have the fireworks in one area and only one person allowed to ignite or handle fireworks;

– Allow guests that have had too much to drink to stay over;

– Do not allow your guests to operate ATVs, boats, or jet skis unless they are properly licensed and trained;

– Ensure that lifejackets are worn whenever your guests are using watercraft of any sort.

While the goal of any cottage gathering should be to have fun, guest safety should be of paramount importance. By thinking of guest safety in advance, you will be able to relax and enjoy the party.

About the Authors


The son of a grocery store clerk, Kevin grew up outside of Perth, Ontario. He credits his humble beginnings with the development of his underdog mentality, an approach he has carried into his legal career.

He attended McMaster University for two years before being granted early admission to Osgoode Hall Law School. After being called to the bar in 2008, Kevin began practising law in Hamilton before joining a leading Toronto litigation firm, representing Canada’s largest insurance companies on personal injury actions. “I didn’t find it fulfilling,” Kevin recalls. “I was helping companies save money, when what I wanted to do was help the people going up against these major corporations.” Since joining Oatley Vigmond, Kevin has used his insurance-industry experience to protect his clients and recover the compensation they deserved. He’d been at Oatley Vigmond for two months when he settled a matter for a client at a mediation. “You felt the burden of the litigation, and her injuries, lifting off her. I wanted to help even more people experience the relief of having their uncertainty lifted.’”

To learn more about Kevin, please click here.