A Brief Overview
The Government of Ontario has recently proposed legislation entitled "Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act 2020", also referred to as Bill 218. If this legislation is passed as it stands currently, it would extend protections to businesses and individuals who have been operating during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The objective of the legislation is to seek protection for businesses and individuals from any civil lawsuits as they relate to COVID 19. The full details can be accessed here https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-218
"The Supporting Ontario's Recovery Act, 2020 is enacted. Section 2 of the Act provides that no cause of action arises against any person as a direct or indirect result of an individual being or potentially being infected with or exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) on or after March 17, 2020 as a direct or indirect result of an act or omission of the person if,
(a) at the relevant time, the person acted or made a good faith effort to act in accordance with,
(i) public health guidance relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) that applied to the person, and
(ii) any federal, provincial or municipal law relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) that applied to the person; and
(b) the act or omission of the person does not constitute gross negligence.
Proceedings directly or indirectly based on or related to any such matter may not be brought, and any that exist when the Act comes into force are deemed to have been dismissed without costs. The section also applies with respect to a person who is vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of another person, if the other person's liability is negated in relation to any such act or omission under subsection 2 (1). The terms "good faith effort", "law", "public health guidance", and "person" are defined and clarified in section 1 of the Act.
The Act also sets out an exception to section 2 relating to the closure of a person's operations under a law, as well as exceptions relating to employment and the performance of work." (Legislative Assembly of Ontario)
Bill 218 passed the first reading on October 20, 2020 and if the Act receives Royal Assent, the protections would apply retroactively to infections or exposure to COVID-19 on or after March 17, 2020.
Originally Published by Gluckstein, January 2021
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