A class action has been launched on behalf of the residents of 96 Ontario long-term care homes which have experienced COVID-19 related outbreaks.
The action proposed seeks damages from the owners and operators of the 96 long-term care homes, stemming from their “alleged negligence, breaches of fiduciary duty and breaches of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
“This class action seeks accountability from long-term care providers with regards to their mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaction and slow response time needlessly cost many lives and has seriously impacted countless more,” said Innis Ingram, an advocate for long-term care home residents and one of the nine proposed Representative Plaintiffs.
“This suit will hopefully be a catalyst for the change that is overdue in the long-term care system, which has been neglected for decades.”
The proposed Representative Defendants are Sienna Senior Living Inc. and the City of Toronto. Once the 60-day notice period expires the government of Ontario will also be added as a defendant.
The government of Ontario and the Defendandant owners and operators have been alleged to have ignored “numerous red flags and failed to adopt timely and reasonable infection prevention and control measures to avoid exposing the elderly to the risk of infection with COVID-19.”
The Claim also alleges other “long-standing” deficiencies in Ontario’s long-term care system that made facilities hubs for the disease. Another allegation is that the Defendants adopted ad hoc, “negligently and recklessly,” along with other “inadequate” measures that exposed Ontario’s elderly people to the risk of infection.
Some of the long-term care facilities included in the Claim are Erin Mills Lodge Nursing Home, Extendicare Scarborough, Lakeshore Lodge, The Kensington Gardens and The Village of Humber Heights.
The province of Ontario recently confirmed that there are currently 15 long-term care homes with an outbreak of COVID-19. This includes Cawthra Gardens in Mississauga and Nisbet Lodge in Toronto. Nisbet Lodge has seen seven resident deaths.
“This is not a case where it is appropriate to cherry pick certain homes arbitrarily, leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of the most vulnerable members of society unrepresented,” said Joel P. Rochon, co-lead counsel in the proposed class action.
“The regrettable truth is that the outbreaks at these homes were entirely preventable.”
The class action is launched by Rochon Genova LLP, Himelfarb Prosanski and Cerise Latibeaudiere Law Professional Corporation.
In June, a law firm issued a class action proceeding claiming $20 million in damages on behalf of residents at a Scarborough long-term care home.
Lawyers from Thomson Rogers proceeded with the class action lawsuit for the residents of Altamont Community Care and their families on June 1 — at least 53 residents have died from COVID-19 related causes since March 17.