A tentative agreement has been reached in a class action lawsuit involving the Ontario government and former residents of 12 institutions in the province.
The deal was made public yesterday (November 12) and the province has agreed to pay $36 million to settle the class action, which includes claims, class proceedings fund levy, legal costs and disbursements.
The suit alleged that the province was negligent in the management and operation of the facilities, resulting in abuse and harm to former residents.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice must still approve the proposed settlement agreement. According to Koskie Minsky’s website, the firm representing former residents, a hearing will take place in the coming months, however no specific date was given.
The tentative deal is very similar to the class action settlements for former residents of Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres. Those agreements totalled $67.7 million.
Like in the previous settlements, claimants will have to fill out a form consisting of two sections, A and B. Section A will require that former residents declare they suffered harm while living at one of the 12 institutions. Section B will allow to people to make specific allegations of harm, however they will be required to provide details of the harm suffered and any supporting documents, if available.
Compensation amounts will be determined using a Points Allocation System. The maximum amount each person can receive is $35,000 for each facility. A claims administrator will determine the points assigned, based on the form and supporting documents. Claimants who complete only Section A will receive $2,000.
Former residents will also be able to request their personal files from the province in order to submit their claims.
As part of the previous settlements, commemorative plaques were installed at or near Huronia, Southwestern and Rideau Regional Centres to honour the memory of the former residents. No such stipulation was outlined in the tentative agreement.
The proposed members of the class action are people alive as of June 16, 2012 and who lived at the following institutions over a speficic period of time:
- Adult Occupational Centre (Edgar), between January 1, 1966 and March 31, 1999
- Bluewater Centre (Goderich), between April 1, 1976 and December 20, 1983
- D’Arcy Place (Cobourg), between September 1, 1963 and December 31, 1996
- Durham Centre for the Developmentally Handicapped (Whitby), between April 1, 1974 and September 28, 1986
- L.S. Penrose Centre (Kingston), between April 1, 1974 and March 31, 1977
- Midwestern Regional Centre (Palmerston), between September 1, 1963 and March 31, 1998
- Muskoka Centre (Gravenhurst), between August 28, 1973 and June 30, 1993
- Northwestern Regional Centre (Thunder Bay), between April 1, 1974 and March 31, 1994
- Oxford Mental Health Centre (Woodstock), between January 1, 1969 and March 31, 1974
- Oxford Regional Centre (Woodstock), between April 1, 1974 and March 31, 1996
- Pine Ridge Centre (Aurora), between September 1, 1963 and August 31, 1984
- Prince Edward Heights (Picton), between January 1, 1971 and December 31, 1999
- St. Lawrence Regional Centre (Brockville), between April 1, 1975 and June 30, 1983.
Former residents or family members wanting more information should contact Koskie Minsky at 416-977-8353.
To read the Settlement Agreement, click here.
– Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario