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November 13, 2015

An Environmental Lawyer’s Take on Ménard v. Parsons: Disclosure of Environmental Matters

Vendor’s disclosure of environmental issues that could be characterized as latent defects should best be made by disclosure of original material such as an environmental report in the sale agreement. Our view is that vendors with environmental issues to disclose should avoid the use of the Seller Property Information Statement (“SPIS”).

In Ménard v. Parsons (“Ménard”),1 the Ontario Superior Court found that Seller failed to adequately disclose former landfilling at the property. The bulk of the decision hung on to Seller’s answers to two questions in the SPIS under the section title “Environmental”.

  • “Are you aware of possible environmental problems or soil contamination of any kind on the property or in the immediate area? E.g. radon gas, toxic waste, underground gasoline or fuel tanks etc.”2 Seller answered “unknown” to this question.
  • “Are there any existing or proposed waste dumps, disposal sites or landfills in the immediate area?”3 Seller answered “yes” to this question.

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