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 other relative.

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.