Class Action on Behalf of Property Owners Challenges N.L. COVID-19 Travel Ban

50 Things To Do In August in Newfoundland & Labrador

Photo Credit: Downtown St. Johns

A proposed class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of non-residents who own property in Newfoundland and Labrador is challenging a ban on entry into the province during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court in St. John’s this week names Sharon and Werner Koehler of Elmira, Ont. as plaintiffs in the case.

The pair own a property and operate a business in Bay Roberts, N.L., where they reside for several months annually.

The suit argues that the government’s May 15 order barring non-resident property owners from entering the province is contrary to mobility rights guaranteed under the charter.

It also argues that the provincial government was negligent in implementing the legislation because it ought to have known the law was unconstitutional and would cause damages to people in the suit.

Premier Dwight Ball says the province has not yet been served but says the Health and Justice departments are “prepared to enter a response.”

During a news conference Wednesday, he said the travel order was a public health measure meant to protect the population, not shut people out.

Geoff Budden, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said damages to his clients and “many thousands” of other property owners who cannot come to the province because of the legislation are “extensive and ongoing.”

In a statement, Budden said the government could face millions of dollars in damage awards and argues it is in the province’s best interest to rescind the order.

A Wednesday press release said the case has yet to be certified as a class action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first reported June 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press


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