TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Superior Court certified a class action today launched by former students of W. Ross MacDonald, a provincially-run residential school for the visually impaired, blind and deafblind. Students allege that they suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse as children and teenagers while living there.
The Honourable Madam Justice Carolyn Horkins granted the certification for the class action over the opposition of the province. The class is composed of students who were enrolled at the school between January 1, 1951 to present day and who were alive as of February 22, 2009. The class also includes spouses and family members of former residents.
Kirk Baert of Koskie Minsky LLP, representing the plaintiffs, is pleased about the certification of the class action as former students will now have the opportunity to tell the public about the abuse they endured while enrolled at this Ontario-run school.
"Madam Justice Horkins' decision to certify these two class actions is a positive step towards achieving justice for the former students of W. Ross MacDonald," said Baert. "The alleged abuse these former students were subjected to for years, many while as children, is unthinkable. We want the government to do the right thing and ensure that former students of this school see justice and receive the reasonable compensation they rightly deserve."
The case involves allegations that the Ontario government failed to operate or supervise W. Ross MacDonald, so as to ensure the safety and well-being of its students. It is alleged that those caring for the students at W. Ross MacDonald were abusive and took advantage of the students' visual disabilities. The action was commenced by Robert Seed, a former student who attended the school from 1954 to 1965.
Located in Brantford, Ontario, the W. Ross MacDonald School opened in 1872 as the Ontario Institution for the Education of the Blind. It is one of two provincially-run residential schools in Ontario for visually impaired, blind and deafblind students.
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