TORONTO, June 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Koskie Minsky LLP announced today that it has served the Province of Ontario with class action claims on behalf of survivors of sixteen provincially operated residential institutions for persons with developmental disabilities.
The institutions that are the subject matter of the notice of the proposed class actions are: Pine Ridge (Aurora); St. Lawrence Regional Centre (Brockville); D'Arcy Place (Cobourg); Adult Occupational Centre (Edgar); Bluewater Centre (Goderich); Muskoka Centre (Gravenhurst); CPRI (London); Midwestern Regional Centre (Palmerson); Prince Edward Heights (Picton); Adult Rehabilitation and Training Centre (St. Thomas); Northwestern Regional Centre (Thunder Bay); Surry Place Centre (Toronto); Durham Centre for the Developmentally Handicapped (Whitby); Oxford Regional Centre (Woodstock); The Nipissing Regional Centre (North Bay); and L.S. Penrose Centre (Kingston).
These facilities were intended to provide residential programs of hospital care, activity, educational programs and training. The claim alleges that throughout the tenure of these facilities, numerous specific recommendations were made directly to the Province of Ontario to identify, halt, report and eliminate abuse of residents, the conditions that led to the abuse of residents and to provide an appropriate level of care to the facilities' residents.
However, notwithstanding these recommendations, no adequate internal safeguards were put into place to adequately prevent or report abuse of the facilities' residents, improve the conditions that led to abuse of facilities' residents, and no adequate steps were taken to improve the quality of care or living at the facilities.
As the Crown knew that the residents of the facilities were not always in a position to complain, report or be listened to, it would have been reasonable for the Crown to establish appropriate institutional means of quality assurance to ensure individuals resided in an inherently safe environment.
"The Province of Ontario has failed again and again to protect its most vulnerable citizens," said Kirk M. Baert, co-lead counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP, "As in the Huronia case, these victims were helpless and at the mercy of the government."
"It's time the Province of Ontario finished what it started." said Celeste B. Poltak, co-lead counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP. "Residents of these institutions are no less deserving than those who were institutionalized at Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern. We intend to shine a light on their experience and demand that the government take responsibility and be accountable for what occurred."
Koskie Minsky LLP was also counsel to the survivors of Huronia, Rideau, and Southwestern Regional Centres, three Ontario-run facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. These three cases recently received court approval of three settlements with the Province of Ontario wherein the Province agreed to pay survivors more than $67 million and to provide an apology to former residents of the facilities for the harm they sustained while living there. The claims process in those cases is under way. The deadline for filing claims is August 5, 2014.
"Over a period of generations, and under various governments, too many of these men, women, children and their families were deeply harmed and continue to bear the scars and the consequences of this time," Premier Kathleen Wynne said in the Province's apology to residents of Huronia on December 9, 2013. "Their humanity was undermined. They were separated from their families and robbed of their potential, their comfort, safety and their dignity."
The settlement agreements in the Huronia, Rideau, and Southwestern cases also ensure that the documents produced in these cases will be deposited in the Ontario Archives. Former residents of Huronia and their family members were also permitted to visit the Huronia facility.
Koskie Minsky LLP was also counsel in Cloud v. Canada, the first Indian Residential Schools class action certified in Canada, which resulted in a $4 billion pan-Canadian settlement in which over 90,000 class members have made claims.
Kirk M. Baert, Celeste B. Poltak, David Rosenfeld, Jody Brown and Garth Myers of Koskie Minsky LLP are lead counsel in this proposed class action.
Koskie Minsky LLP, based in Toronto, is one of Canada's most experienced class action, pension, labour, employment and litigation firms. Its class actions group is a leader in class actions and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in Canada.
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If you were a resident of any of these facilities, or you know any former residents, please contact Koskie Minsky LLP:
SOURCE: Koskie Minsky LLP
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