CCI Toronto News
Protection From Liability – COVID-19
Release date: May 20, 2021
As previously referenced in our legislative newsflash of November 3, 2020, Bill 218, the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 (“SORMEA”) has become law. The legislation was effective as of November 20, 2020 and is retroactive to March 17, 2020. Among other things, SORMEA provides protection to any individual, corporation or other entity that makes a good faith effort to follow federal, provincial, and municipal laws and the public health guidelines related to COVID-19.
Section 2(1) of the legislation provides as follows:
Protection from liability
2 (1) 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.
A “good faith effort” is defined in the legislation as including an honest effort, whether or not that effort is reasonable. Perfection is not required.
The legislative protections do not extend to any individual or business found to have engaged in acts or omissions which constitute "gross negligence" and will not apply where the relevant act, or omission, occurred while a law required the business to close, in whole or in part. In addition, the protections do not exempt claims made against employers by employees.
Notwithstanding the exceptions, the new law may give some degree of reassurance to condominium corporations and businesses in the condominium community attempting to honestly comply with their legal obligations and comply with the public health recommendations related to COVID-19.