The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make headlines, as case counts rise once again. In some cases, this has caused businesses to delay a return to in-person work.
As frustrating as this may be, it does offer building owners and managers an opportunity to take action that protects them from COVID-19 liability.
So far, there are 17 class-action lawsuits in Canada related to COVID, and many more individual actions. Some of them include targeting businesses for not making an adequate effort to protect people from transmission.
All over Canada, employers are responsible for not exposing employees to hazardous conditions. If you fail to do that, you can be liable under occupational health laws, resulting in fines, and even criminal prosecutions. And of course, civil lawsuits.
The COVID-19 lawsuits that affect building managers claim inadequate safety protocols allowed the virus to spread in Canada.
As more and more science demonstrates COVID spreads most effectively through the air, clean air needs to be a priority for organizations wanting to protect themselves legally.
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In Canada, only Ontario has created legislation specifically protecting businesses from COVID lawsuits. The new law dictates that companies cannot be held responsible if someone gets COVID, as long as they have made a good faith effort to protect people.
Building managers and owners can be held liable if they’re found to be negligent, and that negligence causes injury, loss, or damage. In Alberta, there is no such legislation protecting business owners.
We’re not lawyers; we’re clean air experts. So if you have questions about your liability risk, definitely get good legal advice. However in the meantime, you might consider testing your indoor air quality as part of that good faith effort to protect people.
Prominent law firm Ostler recommends businesses evaluate their environment and assess “whether ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the risk of transmission through the air.”
If you need a free indoor air quality test, or you would like more indoor air quality information, please give us a call or send an email.
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