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Families fear bill could let LTC duck liability

Posted: October 23, 2020

(October 22, 2020)

By: Antonella Artuso, Ottawa Sun

TORONTO – Reckless nursing homes can still be held legally accountable for COVID-19 infections, Premier Doug Ford insists.

“They can continue to sue them,” Ford said Wednesday. “This does not protect them 100% by any means.”

His government introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide wide protection from COVID-19 transmission lawsuits provided there was a “good faith” effort to follow public health advice and guidelines.

Opponents to the bill say the government has made it much harder to take bad players in long-term care to court.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford has repeatedly said he’ll hold those responsible accountable for the crisis in long-term care. “(On Tuesday, Ford) actually exempted these for-profit chains from legal liability and also exempted himself,” she said.

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said people are upset.

“First they watched their loved ones die and now they’re afraid they will never get any justice,” she said. “The longterm-care providers lobbied for it and they got it … I’m angry.”

Attorney General Doug Downey said the bill is designed to protect volunteers and small businesses that would be vulnerable to lawsuits.

Ford said the bill is aimed at protecting people like a convenience store owner accused by a customer of spreading COVID-19.

– With files from Sue-Ann Levy

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