The Province of Nova Scotia to be brought into the Northwood Halifax COVID-19 Lawsuit

On June 23, 2020, Erica Surette formally informed the Province of Nova Scotia that she intends to add the Province as a defendant in the proposed class action regarding the devastating COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood Halifax, filed on June 1, 2020. Northwood Halifax operates as the largest long-term care facility in Atlantic Canada.  Having claim to the most deaths due to COVID-19 in the province, it has been called the epicentre of this highly contagious and deadly virus outbreak in Nova Scotia. More information on the claim against Northwood regarding the COVID-19 outbreak is available HERE.

Proposed representative plaintiff in the filed class action against Northwood Halifax, Erica Surette, lost her mother, Patricia West (age 66), on April 22, 2020, due to COVID-19 after Ms. West had been moved from a single to a shared room on March 26, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. “There are questions as to why shared rooms were even allowed, why there was no support or oversight ensuring that residents had appropriate physical space and accommodations, and why staff did not have needed protective equipment during the pandemic,” she stated.

The Notice of Intended Action – a document that is served on the Province in advance of adding it as a defendant in the lawsuit – alleges that the Province was negligent in various ways, which caused or contributed to the unsafe operation of Northwood Halifax, leading to the deaths of 53 residents throughout April and May of 2020. The allegations relate to inadequate and negligent funding prior to and during the COVID-19 outbreak, notwithstanding known overcrowding issues, apparent need, and the onset of the pandemic that requires quarantine and physical distancing, and to which the elderly are particularly vulnerable. It is also alleged the Province carried out its oversight and licensing duties negligently and did not enforce safety, health and sanitation rules and regulations, or appropriately act in response to known violations. The Province’s negligence resulted in an ideal environment for COVID-19 to spread throughout the facility. Furthermore, once the outbreak hit, it is alleged that the Province took no action to prevent, mitigate, or eliminate the lethal spread of COVID-19 or provide resources to enable Northwood staff to respond to the crisis conditions.

Northwood Halifax has confirmed 246 cases of COVID-19 among its elderly residents, with 193 recovered, and 53 deaths. It has also confined 99 cases among its staff members.

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