Families of Ont. COVID-19 victims launch $50M lawsuit against Revera Retirement Living
Families allege Revera long-term care homes lacked proper sanitation and adequate testing
A $50-million class action lawsuit has been launched against Revera Retirement Living on behalf of the families of COVID-19 victims at the company's long-term care facilities in Ontario.
Revera Retirement Living, which operates long-term care homes across Canada, is being sued for negligence and breach of contract.
Plaintiffs Peter Masucci and Tonino Ricci lost their mothers after the women contracted COVID-19 while living in the Revera-operated facility Harold and Grace Baker Centre in Toronto, according to the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs allege the facilities lacked "proper sanitation protocols and adequate testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19." The statement of claim also alleges Revera did not properly inform residents or families of any measures it was taking to keep its facilities safe.
Dozens of families join
Dozens of families who have lost loved ones at Revera long-term care homes in Ontario have come forward to be part of the lawsuit, according to lawyer Darryl Singer of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers.
Singer says he hopes the lawsuit will help change the way long-term care homes are run in the future.
"What I call the profit over the person motive of these long-term care operators has existed for years and years," said Singer.
In a statement to CBC News, Revera Retirement Living says it's reviewing the lawsuit and will respond in due course.
"However, we will not let it distract us from our singular focus at this time, which is to prevent further illness and loss of life," the statement said.
The company adds it's been following government directives since the outset of the pandemic.
'She was my everything'
Forest Heights Long-term Care Home in Kitchener, which is operated by Revera, is the hardest hit long-term care facility in Waterloo region. As of Friday, 150 residents have tested positive and 35 people have died at the facility from COVID-19.
On April 22, Tracy Rowley found out a woman she referred to as her second mother, Shirley Egerdeen, had died from COVID-19 at the age of 74. The Forest Heights resident had tested positive earlier that month.
Rowley is one of the people who has signed on to the class action lawsuit.
"We laid my second mom to rest ...she was my everything," said Rowley.
Rowley believes Forest Heights Long-Term Care Home waited too long to manage the COVID-19 crisis. The facility moved 40 people out of the home and into Waterloo's region's three hospitals around the time Rowley had found out Egerdeen had died.
"I don't want any other person to lose a mother, a father, a friend, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent. This isn't the way they deserve to go out. They don't deserve to be a number," said Rowley.
With files from CBC's Lisa Xing