At a human rights workshop in the co-op, we learned that Ontario has an Apology Act, which came into force in Ontario on April 23, 2009. It allows us to express sorrow or regret without worrying that the comments can later be used against us in a civil lawsuit.
Yes, that means that you can say you are sorry, and this apology can’t be used to prove you are responsible for whatever you apologized for.
• is not an admission of liability,
• does not void or impair an insurance contract, and
• is not taken into account in determining liability
But don’t admit liability. If you run into someone else’s car, you can say you are terribly sorry that this happened, but don’t say it was all your fault. An admission of liability is still an admission of liability.
An apology is often key to the healing process; it can promote accountability and transparency and shorten or avoid litigation.
Here's the legislation:
Apology Act, S.O. 2009, c3.
Consolidation Period: From April 23, 2009 to the e-Laws currency date. No Amendments.
1. In this Act,
“apology” means an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that a person is sorry or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit fault or liability or imply an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate. 2009, c. 3, s. 1.
Effect of apology on liability
2. (1) An apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter,
(a) does not, in law, constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter;
(b) does not, despite any wording to the contrary in any contract of insurance or indemnity and despite any other Act or law, void, impair or otherwise affect any insurance or indemnity coverage for any person in connection with that matter; and
(c) shall not be taken into account in any determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (1).
(2) Clauses (1) (a) and (c) do not apply for the purposes of proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (2).
Evidence of apology not admissible
(3) Despite any other Act or law, evidence of an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter is not admissible in any civil proceeding, administrative proceeding or arbitration as evidence of the fault or liability of any person in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (3).
(4) However, if a person makes an apology while testifying at a civil proceeding, including while testifying at an out of court examination in the context of the civil proceeding, at an administrative proceeding or at an arbitration, this section does not apply to the apology for the purposes of that proceeding or arbitration. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (4).
Criminal or provincial offence proceeding or conviction
3. Nothing in this Act affects,
(a) the admissibility of any evidence in,
(i) a criminal proceeding, including a prosecution for perjury, or
(ii) a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act; or
(b) the use that may be made in the proceedings referred to in subsection 2 (3) of a conviction for a criminal or provincial offence. 2009, c. 3, s. 3.
Acknowledgment, Limitations Act, 2002
4. For the purposes of section 13 of the Limitations Act, 2002, nothing in this Act,
(a) affects whether an apology constitutes an acknowledgment of liability; or
(b) prevents an apology from being admitted in evidence. 2009, c. 3, s. 4.
5. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 5.
6. Omitted (enacts short title of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 6.