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Advocates for LTC residents say Ford government make it impossible to hold homes accountable

A resident chats with workers at Orchard Villa Long-Term Care in Pickering, Ontario on Monday June 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

An advocacy group is accusing the Ford government of introducing legislation that would make it significantly harder for residents and families to hold long-term care homes liable for failing to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multiple advocates for residents held a joint news conference on Wednesday to discuss how difficult it is to prove in court, and the Bill amounts to a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the few homes at the centre of the pandemic’s impact.

Greg McVeigh says he has a lawsuit pending, but Bill 218 would put an end to that. Both his parents died of COVID-19 at Seven Oaks in Scarborough.

“Throughout this pandemic, hard working people like my parents, due to their age and disability, were treated like second-class citizens. They were an after thought, expendable and not as important to keep alive,” McVeigh told 680 NEWS.

The Bill protects everything from small businesses to local hockey teams from legal action for negligence.

Advocates were pushing to get long-term care homes carved out of that protection, but a standing committee has decided to leave those homes in.

McVeigh’s lawyer, Gary Will, says about 2,000 residents and their families are waiting for a class action approval to take legal action against homes.

Bill 218 is up for third and final reading next week.

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