Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Law makes it easier for some Canadians to apologise

Legislation that would allow people to offer apologies without fear of having it used against them in court will be introduced in Ontario, the provincial government said yesterday.

The Apology Act is meant to make it easier to say sorry without fear of legal repercussions, said Attorney General Chris Bentley.

“It's an issue that speaks to our wish, when something goes wrong, when we might be responsible for causing harm, our wish to say, ‘I'm sorry, didn't mean it, and I'll try and make amends,”' Mr. Bentley said.

The act, if passed, will mean those apologies can't later be used in court as an admission of fault or liability, and won't impact someone's insurance coverage.

The legal system has made it increasingly difficult for people or organizations to apologize out of fear it could later be used in lawsuits, Mr. Bentley said.

“We see fewer and fewer acknowledgments, demonstrations of regret, demonstrations of remorse, until the lawsuit,” he said. But Mr. Bentley said he's heard from numerous people involved in lawsuits say they wouldn't have proceeded if only someone had apologized.

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