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October 21, 2020

Ontario Introduces New Law To Limit COVID-19 Legal Liability

Authors Hendrik Nieuwland and Mackenzie Anderson

On October 20, 2020, Bill 218, the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020, was carried through its first reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. If passed, Bill 218 will provide protections for employers, workers, and volunteers that make a “good faith effort” to follow public health laws and guidelines relating to COVID-19. The legislation continues to allow Ontarians to take legal action against those who willfully, or with gross negligence, endanger others.

Who is Covered?

 

The Ontario government has emphasized that Bill 218’s protections would apply to the following entities:

  • Businesses and their employees;
  • Frontline workers who serve the public;
  • Healthcare workers and institutions;
  • Charities, non-profit organizations; and,
  • Coaches, volunteers and minor sports associations. 

 

Impact on Employers and Employees

 

If passed, Bill 218 would prevent legal action being pursued against any employer or employee that was directly or indirectly responsible for exposing others to COVID-19. This protection only occurs if the employer or employee:

 

  1. Acted or made a good faith effort to act in accordance with applicable public health guidelines and any federal, provincial or municipals laws relating to COVID-19; and,
  2. The act or omission of the employer or employee did not constitute gross negligence.

Our firm will continue to provide you with updates as the Ontario Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

The foregoing is for informational purposes only and should in no way be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances and business, please contact any of SOM LLP’s lawyers by email or telephone.

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