Comment by the CCCB on the Supreme Court of Canada: Judgements in two cases concerning vicarious liability

Wednesday, June 16 1999

The General Secretariat of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) appreciates that today’s decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirm the existing law that an employer is not automatically liable for the intentional wrongdoing of its employees and that the Court has set out guidelines in cases of sexual abuse.

For the Court to have held otherwise and imposed automatic liability on employers simply because of the employment relationship would have had a paralysing effect on religious, charitable and non-profit organizations that are involved in the care of vulnerable people. The CCCB continues to support the proposition that the employer should be held responsible if it has contributed to the employee’s misconduct through its own fault or negligence.

The Supreme Court of Canada was dealing with some very disturbing cases of child sexual abuse and complex questions of social policy. We share their concern to maintain vigilance against this terrible evil and will continue to do all that we can to raise awareness and promote prevention as well as healing for victims.

The General Secretaries