Court gives green light for Crown ward class action against the Province of Ontario

THUNDER BAY, ON, Jan. 22, 2016 /CNW/ - The law firms Koskie Minsky LLP, Zaitzeff Law P.C. and Watkins Law Professional Corporation announce that Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled today that abused, neglected and re-victimized Crown wards may proceed with their class action against the Province of Ontario, despite government lawyers arguing that the Province does not owe a duty of care to the tens of thousands of children.

On January 22, 2016, the Honourable Mr. Justice J.S. Fregeau released reasons dismissing the Province's attempt to appeal the decision of Madam Justice Pierce of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granting the plaintiffs' motion for an order that the first part of the test for certification is granted.

The proposed class action includes all children who were Crown wards at any time from January 1, 1966, the date that the Province of Ontario voluntarily accepted legal responsibility and guardianship of Crown wards.

The proposed representative plaintiffs, Holly Papassay, Toni Grann, Robert Mitchell, Dale Gyselinck and Lorraine Evans are former Crown wards of the Province of Ontario. These former Crown wards are seeking justice for the Crown's failure to protect their rights to claim for the severe physical and sexual abuse they suffered as children while in the Province's care.

Currently, over 500 class members have contacted class counsel. Class counsel encourages former Crown wards to contact them to assist in these claims being advanced. Justice Fregeau's ruling now allows the proposed representative plaintiffs to proceed with the next step in their class action.

"We are thrilled that we can now get on with this case and take the next step towards justice for these abused children." declared Jonathan Ptak, co-lead counsel in this class action. "There has been enough delay."

Christopher Watkins stated "As a result of the Crown's systemic failure and inaction, Crown Wards in Ontario have seen their ability to seek civil damages and compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board evaporate."

Sandy Zaitzeff, co-lead counsel in this class action, notes that because the Crown failed to act, "limitation periods have expired, evidence has disappeared, and Crown Wards who were victims of criminal and tortious acts have not received compensation that would otherwise have played a vital role in their recovery and development."

Ontario Crown wards and former Ontario Crown wards are encouraged to visit, or call 807-345-4455 or visit, email or call 1 (866) 778-7985 to provide information about their Wardship to support the case and to be in a position to make a claim, if the case is successful.

Jonathan Ptak (of Koskie Minsky LLP), Sandy Zaitzeff (of Zaitzeff Law PC) and Chris Watkins (of Watkins Law Professional Corporation) are lead counsel in this proposed class action. The claim was issued in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Koskie Minsky LLP, based in Toronto, is one of Canada's foremost class action, pension, labour, employment and litigation firms. Its class actions group has been a leader in class actions since 1992 and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in the area.  For example, Koskie Minsky LLP was counsel to the survivors of Huronia Regional Centre, a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities, who recently received court approval of a settlement with the Province of Ontario wherein the Province agreed to pay survivors $35 million and to provide an apology to former residents of Huronia for the harm they sustained while living at this 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. The settlement is proceeding and over 90,000 class members have made claims.

Sandy Zaitzeff of Zaitzeff Law PC and Christopher Watkins of Watkins Law PC, based in Thunder Bay, bring extensive courtroom and trial experience in the areas of personal injury, criminal and class action litigation.  They are counsel in several other class actions including against the City of Thunder Bay regarding its alleged failure to properly maintain a water pollution control plant, in national actions involving alleged gender based discrimination in the RCMP and the Alysena Birth Control class action; both cases involve women from across Canada.

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

For further information: Media contacts: Jonathan Ptak and Garth Myers, Koskie Minsky LLP, (416) 595-2149 and (416) 595-2102, and


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