TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - The Crown has been served with a claim alleging
that severe and systemic abuse occurred at the Southwestern Regional
Centre, a former government institution, near Chatham, Ontario, for
people living with developmental disabilities.
The claim, submitted by Rosalind Bechard, litigation guardian for former
Southwestern resident Mary Ellen Fox, is the first step towards class
action approval by the court.
Kirk Baert of the law firm Koskie Minsky LLP, represents the plaintiff.
He said he is pleased that this third and final class action, on behalf
of Ontario's institutional survivors, is moving forward.
"As with the class actions launched by former residents at the Huronia
and Rideau institutions," says Baert, "we are moving to trial to seek
justice for those who suffered both physical and psychological abuse
while living at these centres, and to ensure that this kind of
institutional mistreatment does not happen again."
From 1961 to 2008, the Southwestern Regional Centre, also known as Cedar
Springs, provided a residential program for developmentally delayed and
disabled persons. Thousands lived at the facility over the years, many
of them children.
Fox alleges that residents were physically, mentally and emotionally
traumatized by their experiences at Southwestern. In her Statement of
Claim, she alleges being overmedicated and subjected to shocks with a
"cattle prod" like device as punishment. Only after leaving
Southwestern did she learn to read and write.
In the claim, it is alleged that the Province of Ontario breached its
fiduciary duties through the operation, control and management of
Southwestern. In particular, it is alleged that the province's failure
to care for and protect residents resulted in physical injury,
psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, emotional distress and
A similar class proceeding with respect to the Huronia Regional Centre,
in Orillia, Ontario was certified on July 30, 2010. Koskie Minsky LLP
represents the plaintiffs in that action as well. Additionally, a
Statement of Claim has been issued in respect of the Rideau Regional
Centre near Smith Falls, Ontario.
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information:
visit institutionalsurvivors.com or contact: Koskie Minsky LLP at 1-866-474-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.