TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - On November 30th, the claims deadline will expire in the precedent setting class action settlements concerning the Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres. These three class actions settled for $67.7 million in 2013, the largest settlement in Ontario for institutional abuse. Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern were three of the largest institutions in Canada for people labelled with a developmental disability. Huronia opened in 1876, originally called the Orillia Asylum for Idiots and at one point housed 2,600 people. All three institutions closed between 2008-2009. Koskie Minsky LLP and Mr. Kirk Baert represent the former residents.
The $67.7 million settlement has included implementation of precedent setting conditions, including:
- on December 9th, 2013 Premier Kathleen Wynne delivered an apology in the Legislative Assembly to all former residents for a "deeply flawed" model of care and for the fact that "Their humanity was undermined; they were separated from their families and robbed of their potential, their comfort, safety and their dignity";
- over 65,000 documents from the lawsuits are now publicly available online concerning the operation of Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern;
- over 1 million pages of resident files have been provided to former residents through the claims process, allowing many to piece together parts of their past;
- a registry was created for the 1,440 unmarked graves at the Huronia cemetery;
- hundreds of former residents and supporters toured the former Huronia centre over the summer; and
- dozens of historical artifacts from Huronia are now in the possession of several universities for academic and research purposes.
On the approaching claims deadline of November 30th, Mr. Baert remarked that "These cases concern abuse that happened decades ago when many of the former residents were children and young adults. I am happy that we are approaching a final resolution of these cases and that the former residents will be able to receive what is long overdue compensation." Former residents have until November 30th to submit a claim, after which they will not be able to make any claim for compensation. Inquiries and questions about making a claim should be directed to Koskie Minsky LLP at 1-866-777-6311.
SOURCE: Koskie Minsky LLP
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