TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2017 /CNW/ - On behalf of the proposed representative and Thalidomide survivor, Bruce Wenham, Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, Ontario has initiated a class proceeding against the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of all individuals whose applications to the Thalidomide Survivors Contribution Program ("TSCP") were rejected on the basis of failing to provide the required proof of eligibility.
Thalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug that was provided to pregnant women across the world in the late 1950s and early 1960s to combat nausea and morning sickness. The use of Thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy was directly linked to children being born with debilitating malformities.
In 1990, the Government of Canada established a compensation program for Canadian Thalidomide survivors. Following lobbying efforts, Health Canada announced in 2015 that new funds were to be made available for Canadian Thalidomide survivors through the TSCP and previously unidentified survivors could apply. The TSCP provides specific evidentiary requirements that effectively mean that previously unidentified Thalidomide survivors could only be eligible if they could provide prescription records or an affidavit from the prescribing doctor. The prescription records are over fifty years old and likely now destroyed, and the prescribing doctor is likely over eighty years old, if still alive.
This class proceeding alleges that the establishment and application of the TSCP evidentiary requirements are unlawful as they are effectively impossible to meet. The applicant seeks to quash or set aside all decisions of the TSCP Administrator to reject applicants to the TSCP for failing to provide proof of the eligibility criteria and have their applications reconsidered.
"Canadian Thalidomide survivors have suffered immensely," says David Rosenfeld, lead counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP, "The requirements of the program set up to assist the previously unidentified survivors are effectively impossible to meet and provides a false sense of optimism that the cause of their suffering would be recognized. There is manifest unfairness that the evidence and information that these forgotten survivors were able to gather some 50 years later would not even be considered for recognition under this program. This unfairness has been brought to the attention of Government of Canada, but it has not taken any action to address the issue. This case seeks to remedy that unfairness and provide these forgotten survivors with much needed access to justice."
Koskie Minsky LLP, based in Toronto, is one of Canada's foremost class action, pension, trade union, and litigation firms. Its class actions group has been a leader in class actions and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in the area. Koskie Minsky LLP was counsel to the survivors of former residents of Huronia Regional Centre and 14 other residential facilities for people with disabilities against the Province of Ontario, wherein the Province agreed to pay survivors over $103.6 million and to provide an apology to former residents for the harm they sustained. Koskie Minsky LLP was also counsel in Cloud v. Canada, the first Indian residential schools class action certified in Canada, which resulted in a $4 billion pan-Canadian settlement.
For more information or if you are a class member contact:
Email: [email protected]
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact David Rosenfeld, 416-595-2700 or [email protected]