Legal Team for Plaintiffs Plans to Appeal Decision
WATERLOO, ON, July 13, 2018 /CNW/ - Justice Baltman of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled today that the Court has no jurisdiction to hear a proposed class action against the Waterloo Regional Police Service and Waterloo Police Association seeking compensation for decades of gender based discrimination and sexual harassment. The Court held that previous rulings from the Court of Appeal required the women to use the internal mechanisms created to address the issues.
"We are disappointed in this ruling, but it's important to note that the judge's decision was not based on the validity of the plaintiff's claims," said Douglas Elliot, lead counsel for the plaintiff's legal team. "This was purely a procedural ruling based on previous Court of Appeal rulings. We intend to appeal this decision in order to allow this case to proceed."
Of interest in the judge's ruling was her position on the seriousness of the issues this case raises. Taken directly from her ruling; "The Defendants should not regard this result as a vindication of current practices…it is apparent that this case raises serious, triable issues relating to the workplace culture. The allegations are very troubling and will require close scrutiny should this matter proceed to another forum for adjudication."
Retired Superintendent Barry Zehr, a proposed representative plaintiff in the case, spent years trying to make the existing system work to address pervasive problems of misogyny and sexism. "I do not believe that the existing system is capable of addressing these issues, said Zehr. "It is run by the men for the men. That's why we need the courts to step in."
"Women will continue to experience gender discrimination at the Waterloo Regional Police Service," said Angie Rivers, another of the proposed representative plaintiffs in the case. "The internal processes to deal with these issues are broken. That's why we came to the courts."
The legal team for the plaintiffs will be filing an appeal with the Ontario Court of Appeals within 30 days.
SOURCE Cambridge LLP
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