After months of emphasizing that retailers and business owners who have been doing everything they can to protect their employees and customers from COVID-19 should not be liable in cases of transmission, the Ontario Government has just introduced legislation (Bill 218) that indeed protects retailers and business owners from frivolous lawsuits.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the best practice for retailers has shifted dozens of times. For example, at one point during the crisis, the Federal Government was discouraging mask use, and now mask use is an accepted industry norm in most parts of Canada. For business owners who’ve done their best to adapt to evolving situations, Ontario’s new legislation provides that no cause of action arises from direct or indirect infection exposure as long as the business/owner did their best effort to protect employees and customers in accordance with health guidance.
This is a major win for retailers. It will prevent members from dealing with unnecessary lawsuits and will help mitigate massive insurance increases that many small businesses have been encountering as they renegotiate premiums.