HALIFAX, Dec. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - McKiggan Hebert Lawyers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, Ontario have commenced a class action against the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence who were stationed in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador between 1969 and 1993.
The claim alleges that between the 1950s and the 1990s, the Canadian government engaged in systematic campaign to identify and purge lesbians, gay men, and those suspected of being gay from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence.
As a result of their sexual orientation, lesbians, gay men, and those suspected of homosexuality were put under surveillance, investigated, interrogated, and denied security clearances. Pressure was put on these individuals to leave the Canadian military service. Gay men and lesbians in the Canadian military service were systematically harassed, intimidated and discriminated against. Ultimately the employment of thousands of lesbians, gay men, and those suspected of being gay was terminated without proper compensation or due process of law.
The claim seeks $150 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the class members' rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which states that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.
"For too long, gay men and lesbians in the Canadian military have faced inappropriate and unlawful discrimination," says John McKiggan, co-lead counsel at McKiggan Hebert Lawyers, "and this case can start to right these wrongs of the past."
McKiggan Hebert Lawyers, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada's leading personal injury, medical malpractice and sexual abuse claim law firms. John McKiggan Q.C., lead counsel from McKiggan Hebert Lawyers, has a special interest in representing victims in civil claims for historical abuse compensation. McKiggan is co-lead counsel in Hayes v. City of Saint John a proposed class action filed on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by former Saint John Police officer Kenneth Estabrooks. He represented over 600 former residents of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential Schools in a claim for compensation for childhood physical, sexual and racial abuse and loss of cultural identity. He sits on the steering committee in Baxter v. Canada, a claim brought on behalf of 70,000 former aboriginal children across Canada. McKiggan is counsel in Martin v. Lahey, the first certified class action under Nova Scotia's Class Proceedings Act against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.
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 since 1992 and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in the area. Kirk M. Baert, lead counsel from 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. Mr. Baert was also counsel in Cloud v. Canada, the first Indian residential schools class action certified in Canada, which resulted in a $5 billion pan-Canadian settlement.
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information: or if you are a class member: Website: www.kmlaw.ca/militaryclassaction, Toll-free: 1 888 723 4305, Email: [email protected]; For media enquiries, please contact: John A. McKiggan Q.C., 902-423-2050, Toll free: 1-877-423-2050 or Garth Myers, 416-595-2102