Posted on May 31, 2021
ALBERTA NDP CALL ON UCP NOT TO ROB GRIEVING FAMILIES OF THEIR RIGHT TO SEEK JUSTICE
EDMONTON- Alberta’s NDP are urging the UCP to not go forward with their proposed liability protection legislation for health and continuing care facilities because it hinders the families and loved ones of those who have died due to negligent care to seek justice.
Bill 70: COVID-19 Related Measures Act creates higher legal threshold for families to sue continuing care operators and health facilities. The bill is also retroactive, which essentially throws out current cases.
“COVID-19 has hit residents in continuing care the hardest,” said NDP Seniors Critic Lori Sigurdson. “Jason Kenney and the UCP failed to protect seniors from preventable deaths, and now they’re pushing legislation to protect the profits of shareholders in the private care industry.”
Kathy Kaiser’s mother passed away in an outbreak, which took the life of 21 residents at the Brentwood Care Centre in Calgary. Kaizer is in an active class-action lawsuit against the care home.
“I can’t save my mom now, but I will be a voice for her and others that have, or may, suffer the indignities she endured before her death,” said Kaiser. “Passing this bill leaves no one accountable. Anyone's life is worth more than that.”
Shawna Larouque lives in British Columbia and received a call in October that her mother was extremely ill with COVID-19. She immediately drove to Shepherd’s care in Edmonton. Once there, she saw her mother was left unattended as she died. She is currently a part of a lawsuit against the care provider.
“I was beside my mother when she died and no one in the care home came in to help her as she breathed her final breaths. I cried for help. She was abandoned because she had COVID-19,” said Laroque. “This was fundamentally wrong and there should be justice.”
The Alberta NDP will be putting forward an amendment to take away the bill’s retroactive impact, and allow all current cases to proceed in the courts.
“Grieving families have gone through emotional and financial hardship in these cases and the UCP should at the very least let current cases go forward,” said Sigurdson. “Before this amendment comes to vote, I strongly recommend the UCP MLAs listen to stories of people like Kathy and Shawna and say to them directly why they think that their cases should not be heard.”
Bill 70 also gives the government the ability to expand liability protection to other types of workplaces. The Alberta NDP will propose an amendment to take this ability away.
“Jason Kenney and the UCP have fled from accountability throughout this pandemic. The courts are one of the few ways that individual Albertans can seek justice for their families. It’s morally wrong for the UCP to try and take that right away. I urge government MLAs to search their consciences and vote against this bill.”