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“Never Having To Say You’re Sorry”: Are Canadian Punitive Damage Awards On The Rise?

Punitive damage awards in Canada appear to be on the rise, with a number of significant punitive damage amounts awarded of late.
Recent trend
The following cases suggest a trend towards rising punitive damage awards:

Branco v American Home Assurance Co.1 Disability insurance case — $4.5 million in punitive damages awarded at the Saskatchewan Queen's Bench level (currently subject to appeal);
Fernandes v Penncorp Life Insurance Co.2 Disability insurance case — $200,000 in punitive damages awarded at the Ontario Superior Court level (currently subject to appeal, scheduled to be heard March 5, 2014);
Cinar Corporation v Robinson.3 Copyright infringement case — $500,000 in punitive damages awarded by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Pate Estate
The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Pate Estate v Galway-Cavendish and Harvey (Township)4 appears to further substantiate this trend.

Mr. Pate was the township's chief building official for almost 10 years when he was fired because o...

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