The Test for Causation in Canada: But For, But . . Maybe Not by ProQuest


Prior to Canada's Supreme Court decision in Resurfice Corp v. Hanke, there was significant confusion (and significant controversy) over the accurate statement of the causation test in Canada. Despite the apparent attempt to put an end to both the confusion and the controversy, it is the authors' view that the decision has done little to clear up the confusion and, judging by the volume of commentary on the decision, has only fueled the controversy. There are a number of very thorough academic analyses of the evolution of the law of causation generally and of the effect of Resurfice in particular. In Ontario at least, this concern has not yet been borne out. The Ontario Court of Appeal has not yet applied the Resurfice material contribution test, and the disagreements that have arisen between Appeal Court judges, even in a case involving difficult scientific proof, have centered around the type and quality of evidence necessary to satisfy the "but for" test, not on which test should apply.

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