Critics say Ford’s new long-term care legislation makes it harder to sue the facilities
Posted: October 22, 2020
(October 21, 2020)
By: Clarrie Feinstein, Daily Hive Toronto
Doug Ford / CPAC
Premier Doug Ford’s new legislation that aims to provide liability protection for workers and organizations that follow COVID-19 health guidelines, is facing backlash.
On Tuesday, the Ontario government introduced the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020, that if passed, will provide liability protection for workers, volunteers and organizations that “make an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws relating to exposure to COVID-19.”
At the same time, the government will also allow people to take legal action against those who willfully, or with gross negligence, endanger others.
The legislation is facing backlash from the NDP and Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) for protecting long-term care homes, making it “significantly easier” for a home to defend itself, because now gross negligence must be proven, which is harder to convict.
On Wednesday, Ford said if there has been “gross negligence continue suing them and hold them accountable.”
The premier told people to talk to their legal advisor and “get this clear.”
“In no way will we protect the negligence of long-term care providers. If you feel they’ve been negligent sue them,” he said.
He emphasized that the bill does not make it harder for long-term care homes to be sued.
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.”
Official opposition leader Andrea Horwath said the Ford government tabled a bill “obviously designed to shield itself and for-profit long-term care corporations from accountability.”
“More than 1,900 people have died in long-term care during this pandemic, shattering thousands of families. Doug Ford didn’t protect them — but is now protecting the very companies that let them die in horrible conditions,” she said in a statement.