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Recent Law Review

The rising temperature in Toronto is a stark reminder of the statutory deadline of June 22, 2022 for long-term care homes in Ontario to ensure that all resident bedrooms are served by air conditioning as set out in section 23(7) of the General regulation under the Fixing Long-Term care Act, 2021.[1] The regulation defines “air conditioning” to include any mechanical cooling system that is capable of maintaining the temperature at a comfortable level for residents during periods of hot weather.[2]

As of June 17, 2022, the CBC reports that more than 100 long-term care homes in the province still don’t have air conditioning installed despite the June 22 deadline and the warming weather.[3] The Ministry of Long-Term Care told the CBC that 18.7% of homes were in the process of installing air conditioning, 2.9% were working toward an air conditioning solution, and about 0.6% of homes were “outstanding.” The ministry also attributed delays to supply chain issues, visitor restrictions preventing contractors from entering homes, weather issues and complex structural challenges.

In the seminal case of The Queen (Can.) v. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, [1983] 1 SCR 205, the Supreme Court of Canada held that while there is no nominate tort of statutory breach, a breach of statute can be considered in the context of the general law of negligence.[4] To be relevant, the statutory breach must have caused damages.[5] In other words, legislation could serve as a basis for establishing a standard of care in negligence.[6] A statutory requirement can inform a common law duty of care even though there is no cause of action in tort for breach of a statute.[7]

[1] Section 23 (17) of the General Regulation (O. Reg. 246/22) under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021, S.O. 2021, c. 39, Sched. 1 (https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/220246#BK27).

[2] Section 1, ibid.

[3] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/air-conditioning-long-term-care-doug-ford-1.6491558

[4] The Queen (Can.) v. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, 1983 CanLII 21 (SCC), [1983] 1 SCR 205, page 225. <https://canlii.ca/t/1lpdb>

[5] The Queen (Can.) v. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool at page 226.

[6] Del Giudice v. Thompson, 2021 ONSC 5379, at para 162. <https://canlii.ca/t/jhdzl>

[7] Boulanger v. Johnson & Johnson Corp., 2003 CanLII 52154 (ON CA), at para 10. <https://canlii.ca/t/6tdj>


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