TORONTO, April 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Crown rested its defence against class action certification for former students of W. Ross Macdonald who allege that they endured physical, sexual and mental abuse while attending the school. The Crown used an almost identical defence against the Huronia, Southwestern and Rideau Regional Centre class action certifications approved last year. Former residents of these former Ontario-run institutions for the developmentally disabled allege similar abuse.
"By using the same unsuccessful arguments for W. Ross Macdonald as it did for the Regional Centre class actions, the Crown is blatantly showing that it has no regard for the court's time and taxpayers who are footing the bill for these expensive proceedings," said Kirk Baert of Koskie Minsky LLP, who represents the plaintiffs for both W. Ross Macdonald and the former Regional Centres.
Many of the same arguments the Crown used for W. Ross Macdonald, a Brantford-area school for the blind and visually impaired, were unsuccessful during Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern class action certifications. These include, stating that claims prior to 1963 were ineligible in any class action, the Aboriginal Residential Schools class action is not similar or comparable and that all pleadings of abuse on the basis of alleged funding inadequacies should not be included.
"I don't understand how the Crown can see fit to continue to defend itself using the same litany of arguments for people who were abused in Ontario-run institutions and actually believe there will be a different outcome," says Baert. "The Crown needs to do the right thing and let us proceed with the W. Ross Macdonald class action without further delay, so these people can see justice in their lifetime.
The W. Ross Macdonald School opened in 1872 as the Ontario Institution for the Education of the Blind. It is one of two Ontario-run residential schools in Ontario for blind, deafblind and visually impaired students.
The Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres were provincial institutions for the developmentally disabled. Their class actions have been approved by the Ontario court and are now in progress.
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