TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - An historic settlement between victims of the Huronia Regional Centre
and the Province of Ontario is potentially at risk - because Ontario is
denying people access to critical information, the victims' lawyers
"The settlement is only a few weeks old, but already the province -
which ran Huronia - is breaking some of its terms," said Koskie Minsky
lawyer Kirk Baert, lead counsel for the victims. "The settlement in
September clearly required the province to give victims access to
records about their cases. That's what Ontario agreed to. But now we
are hearing from our clients that isn't happening."
In September, after many years of delay, Ontario finally agreed to
settle the Huronia Regional Centre class action lawsuit for $35
million. Among the terms of settlement was a requirement that Ontario
give the public access to 65,000 documents pertaining to Huronia, and
that victims or their families would be given prompt access to files.
"Victims are getting the run-around by bureaucrats, or they are being
denied access entirely," added Baert. "What they went through at
Huronia is bad enough. For Ontario's government to now break its word
about access makes a bad situation even worse."
The tentative settlement agreement clearly explains how documents are to
be maintained, and how they can be accessed. The documents are to be
deposited with Archives Ontario and are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA"). However, survivors of Huronia who are trying to access their
own records are being given the bureaucratic run-around and are waiting
several weeks simply for a reply.
Worse still, Archives Ontario staff are telling survivors that their
files cannot be found and "may" be located at the Ministry of Children
and Social Services. "It is outrageous that this government can't even
figure out where these records are," said Baert. "Forcing Huronia
victims to go through this Kafkaesque process is shameful."
The class action alleges residents of the HRC suffered inhumane
treatment from 1945 until its closure in 2009, and that the province of
Ontario failed to properly care for, and protect, those under its care.
Koskie Minsky LLP is representing the former HRC residents involved in a
class action lawsuit against the province of Ontario, as well as two
other class action lawsuits currently underway: Southwestern Regional
Centre and Rideau Regional Centre. These class actions are virtually
identical to the one brought against the government by the Huronia
SOURCE: Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information:
Koskie Minsky LLP
Koskie Minsky LLP