In July 2019, the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act (CLPA) barring lawsuits over government policy decisions took effect. The Act sought to limited Ontario’s liability over government policy decisions.

In the first test of the new Act, Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court rejected Ontario’s claim that it barred a claim on behalf of 11,000 inmates over solitary confinement. The question at the heart of the case was what constitutes a policy decision.

In the 152-page ruling, Justice Perell referred to solitary confinement as a “dungeon inside a prison” and that the severe psychiatric harm it causes is grossly disproportionate to its stated purpose of protecting jail security.

Eugene Meehan, Q.C. comments in this article for The Globe and Mail that Ontario’s new law on government liability has the potential to “move the tectonic plates of the citizen-state relationship”, but that Justice Perell’s ruling reduces the law’s impact. Read the full article here.