Nurses, people who contracted SARS and their families cannot sue the Ontario government over the deadly 2003 outbreak that claimed 44 lives, Ontario’s top court ruled Thursday.

Several groups of people attempted to sue the province, alleging the government put economic interests ahead of public safety during the outbreak.

But the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the claims did not have legal grounds to proceed, and dismissed the lawsuits.

The nurses' claim involved 53 registered nurses in the Toronto area and their families, including the family of Tecla Lin, who died of SARS in July 2003.

They alleged the province failed to provide nurses with timely information and the directives issued to Ontario hospitals were inadequate and exposed nurses to the risk of contracting SARS.

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