Bell Digs Up Toronto Woman’s Lawn, Breaks Water Line, Leaves Her the Bill


Routine maintenance by Bell resulted in Toronto resident Juixiang Liu’s front lawn being dug up in February. To her surprise when she came home from work, she not only discovered a massive fenced off hole filled with water, but a sign on her door that said water had been shut off.

Toronto bell damage

Image via CBC News

What happened? Bell and their contractor did not notify her of the work, which resulted in a busted water pipe, leaving her family without water for over 30 hours, when temperatures had dipped to -16C. To make matters worse, she was stuck with the $267.73 bill by the city to pay for the water shut-off fee. Her lawn also remains a muddy mess.

It wasn’t until Lui contacted CBC News did Bell offer to reimburse her for the incident. “It’s like being kicked back and forth.… I feel helpless,” she said.

Bell spokesperson Caroline Audet told CBC News the maintenance work was for equipment buried in a city easement at the front of her home, with work authorized by the City of Toronto. Bell says the contractor failed to notify Liu saying “We’ve followed up with the contractor about that.” The company says they will also offer Liu “goodwill compensation.”

Toronto bell broken pipe

Liu kept the broken pipe as evidence

City spokesperson Lyne Kyle reiterated it is Bell’s responsibility to give homeowners 48 hours notice before work commences, but different rules apply for emergency and pre-planned construction. He confirmed Toronto Water was contacted to deal with the broken pipe, and the latter will work with Bell and Liu to settle the charges.

Liu says she had no idea what was happening when she returned home from work the night of the incident. The only notice was from her daughter who told her a crew had started working out front before she left for school, assuming it was either Bell or Rogers.

It wasn’t until the next evening at 9pm did Toronto Water fix the broken pipe and restore water to the home. Since outside temperatures were at freezing levels, the city said water had to keep running so it wouldn’t freeze. Days later Bell workers showed up to fill the gaping hole.

Liu received a call from Bell this week to offer to pay the bills associated with the incident, plus repair her lawn when weather gets nicer, plus an offer of three months free Internet, which she says she may decline, because “I don’t think the internet is as important as water.”


  • FragilityG4

    How about just giving her the cost of three months of Internet in cash … So $300

  • aaloo

    honestly, these big companies are like mafia. stupid retards.

  • CanucksGoals

    The contractor made her family lived without water in cold weather for 2 days. Most likely she needed to take days off work for this mess. And let’s not talk about how many calls she would needed to make during that time while feeling helpless. Damn. $300? Meh.

    Big companies outsource these jobs to these third party contractors who sometimes don’t give a crap of one’s property.

  • FragilityG4

    The figure I used was in relation to the value of the Internet service option they proposed.

  • definingsound

    Living in a city is interesting! One of my fellow condo owner/dwellers tried to sell his condo, and the buyer (practicing due diligence) came across a lien on the property. It turns out, that the TTC mega-project included some work on the condo property (perhaps it was the guys that tore down our trees to “make room” for the streetcar wires?), the TTC neglected to pay them, and the contractor entered a lien against our condo. City living is complex, work done on our property without giving us a “no” option, and we find ourselves in debt for work we didn’t ask for, approve, authorize or condone.

  • Chad

    Mistakes happen and things dont always go as planned.
    The part that makes this entire thing wrong isnt the fact that she didnt know the work was happening, it is the fact that someone made a mistake and didnt realize the need to fix it.
    You hit the pipe – mistake.
    pay to have the water cut off, pay to have the pipe fixed, get the lawn repaired when the weather is nicer. I dont agree that people are always “entitled” to compensation.
    People should however own up when they make a mistake and fix things.