March 5th, 2024

Class-action lawsuit over COVID-19 outbreaks in Quebec long-term care is approved

By The Canadian Press on January 23, 2024.

Flowers are shown outside Maison Herron, a long-term care home in the Montreal suburb of Dorval on April 12, 2020. A Quebec Superior Court judge has authorized a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all residents of public long-term care homes that experienced major COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic’s first year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – A judge has authorized a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec government on behalf of all residents of public long-term care homes that experienced major COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic’s first year.

The lawsuit in Superior Court alleges that the province’s response to the first two waves of COVID-19 was improvised and that a pre-existing pandemic plan was ignored until it was too late.

Members of the class action include anyone living in a public long-term care centre that experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that infected at least 25 per cent of residents between March 13, 2020, and March 20, 2021.

The suit seeks compensation of at least $100,000 for each member who was infected, $40,000 for class members who didn’t get sick, and additional compensation for both groups’ families.

The class action also aims to obtain an extra $10 million in punitive damages, and it alleges that government decisions – including to move hospital patients into long-term care centres – led to additional deaths.

More than 5,000 people died in Quebec’s long-term care centres during the period covered by the class-action lawsuit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2023.

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