Ontario to provide COVID-19 liability protection to those making 'honest effort'

Henrietta Brewer
October 22, 2020

Executive director Natalie Mehra called the legislation "morally reprehensible".

Orders under the ROA include the province's ability to implement rules on public gatherings, business closures and managing outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.

"I know this has been a challenging period for many of our kids and young people, but by making these targeted investments our government is making it easier for them to access the mental health and addictions services they need", said Premier Doug Ford. "The long-term care providers lobbied for it and they got it ..."

"You might have somebody who has been a hockey coach for decades and they're nervous about engaging as a coach in this environment", Downey said.

When asked about the families who are angry with the new legislation as it makes it harder for them to hold the facilities accountable during the pandemic, Ford said his "heart breaks for anyone that passed away in homes that were negligent".

The Ontario NDP is accusing the Ford government of once again failing the families of the 1,900 people who have died from the coronavirus in long term care homes in the province.

"Elderly people in long-term care have suffered enormously as a result of negligence, incompetence and indifference by profit-seeking corporations that have engaged in egregious practices", she said in a statement.

"This is a significant difference which requires proof of a higher legal standard that is more hard to prove", they add.

"Those who act in good faith and make honest efforts will receive a level of protection", Downey said.

Now a good faith effort means one must comply with legislative, regulatory and policy requirements to perform a "competent and reasonable effort". "It is hard enough for residents and their families to prove the ordinary civil standard of negligence against business operations like a long-term care home without having to discharge the higher and ambiguous standard of "gross negligence'".

Already, legal actions have been started, alleging negligence and failure to follow public health measures-especially against for-profit long-term care home chain companies.

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