TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - A proposed Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Province of Ontario involving twelve "Schedule 1" institutions, which were provincially operated residential institutions for persons with developmental disabilities, located in various places throughout Ontario. The action was certified as a class proceeding on August 20, 2015. This action and settlement follow the recent successful settlements for three other "Schedule 1" institutions: Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres.
The lawsuit says the Province was negligent in the management and operation of the twelve Schedule 1 institutions, resulting in systemic physical, sexual, and mental abuse and harm to the former residents. The Province denies these claims and the Court has not decided whether the Class or the Province is right. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that the Province did anything wrong.
The Court appointed the law firm of Koskie Minsky LLP from Toronto, Ontario to represent the Class as "Class Counsel". In a statement from Class Counsel, Kirk Baert said, "This proposed Settlement represents access to justice for the survivors of the Schedule 1 institutions in Ontario. For too long, they have had to live with memories of abuse and maltreatment from their time at the Schedule 1 institutions without any recourse. This proposed Settlement finally changes that. It is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of all class members."
The lawsuit affects people who were residents at the Schedule 1 institutions covered by the class action, listed below. The proposed members of the class are all persons alive as of June 16, 2012 who resided at the following Schedule 1 institution as a resident during the particular time periods listed below:
- St. Lawrence Regional Centre between April 1, 1975 – June 30, 1983
- L.S. Penrose Centre between April 1, 1974 – March 31, 1977
- D'Arcy Place between September 1, 1963 – December 31, 1996
- Oxford Regional Centre between April 1, 1974 – March 31, 1996
- "Mental Retardation Unit" or "MR Unit" between January 1, 1969 – March 31, 1974
- Midwestern Regional Centre between September 1, 1963 – March 31, 1998
- Adult Occupational Centre (Edgar) between January 1, 1966 – March 31, 1999
- Durham Centre for Developmentally Handicapped between April 1, 1974 – September 28, 1986
- Muskoka Centre between August 28, 1973 – June 30, 1993
- Prince Edward Heights between January 1, 1971 – December 31, 1999
- Northwestern Regional Centre between April 1, 1974 – March 31, 1994
- Bluewater Centre between April 1, 1976 – December 20, 1983
- Pine Ridge between September 1, 1963 – August 31, 1984
If the proposed Settlement is approved and becomes final, it will provide benefits to eligible Class Members from a $35.9 million Settlement Fund, which is being paid for by the Province. The amount of benefits that Class Members can receive will depend on the level of harm suffered. If the Court approves the proposed Settlement, Class Members will have to submit a Claim Form to receive benefits. More information will be available at www.kmlaw.ca or by calling 1-888-723-4304.
Class Members who do not remove themselves from the Class will be legally bound by all orders and judgments of the Court, and cannot sue the Province about the legal claims in this case. Being part of the Class will not impact the residence or services and support received by Class Members from community based agencies funded by the Province.
Class Members do not have to pay Class Counsel, or anyone else, to be part of the Class. Class Members may hire their own lawyer to appear in Court, with leave of the court, on their behalf at their own expense.
The Court will hold a Settlement Approval Hearing in the coming months at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, Ontario. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Class, and whether to approve the Settlement. More information on the Settlement Approval Hearing will be posted on Class Counsel's website: www.kmlaw.ca.
Some Class Members may have difficulty reading, so we are asking for the help of family members, caregivers and friends of former residents in getting information to them.
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information: For all media enquires please contact: Jody Brown, 416-595-2709