Wrongful Death Act
Canada's current Family Compensation Act (FCA) governs in cases of wrongful
death. The Act takes into account the direct financial losses that result from
death; however, it fails to acknowledge the multi-layered experience of affected
families. Children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities who may not
represent a measurable financial loss are among the classes of people whose
lives are not fully valued or respected after they die. The current Canadian
legislation fails to provide for all the losses (emotional, financial, etc.)
that result from the wrongful death of a child, parent, sibling, spouse or some
The current law also makes the distinction between wrongful acts that lead to
injury and those that lead to death: the injured and their families can seek
justice and compensation, but the families of deceased victims cannot. A new act
is desperately needed to enable family members who have suffered the loss of a
loved one to obtain justice, also.
This law, which has not been amended since 1846, only allows for lost income and
must be changed. While the provincial government says it working on changing the
law, critics say they fear new legislation will not go far enough to allow
proper redress for serious medical mistakes.
The act was modeled after British Law and allows the courts to compensate for
lost income but only if the deceased was a wage earner who was expected to
continue earning income for some time. When older patients or children die a
wrongful death, their families almost always have very little recourse civilly.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information has estimated that 24,000
Canadians die as a result of medical errors each year, making it one of the
leading causes of death in the country.