Ontario Crown Ward Failure to Secure Benefits Class Action Settlement

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A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Province of Ontario on behalf of Crown Wards who were victims of crime but did not receive compensatory benefits. The action was certified as a class proceeding on March 30, 2017.  In Ontario, a child may be removed from the care of his or her parents for reasons that include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect. In Ontario, permanent wards were called Crown Wards and, since April 30, 2018, are referred to as children in extended society care.

 

The class consists of persons  who were alive as of January 22, 2012, who were Crown Wards in Ontario at any time from the period on or after January 1, 1966 until March 30, 2017 and suffered physical or sexual assault before or while a Crown Ward. However, it does not include individuals who were still Crown Wards or in extended society care as of May 11, 2021.

 

The lawsuit alleged that the Province owed a duty to consider and, where appropriate, apply for compensatory benefits on behalf of Crown Wards who were victims of criminal or tortious acts prior to or while in care and did not do so.  The primary benefits in dispute were Criminal Injuries Compensation Board benefits. The Province denies these claims and a court has not decided whether the Class or the Province is right. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement.

 

If the proposed Settlement is approved, it will provide eligible class members up to $3,600.00. These payments are not compensation for any crime (physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect) suffered by former Crown Wards. They are only compensation for the fact that the Crown Wards did not receive benefits available to victims of crime. In many instances, Class Members will be able to commence or continue separate lawsuits seeking compensation for harm directly resulting from any crime(s) they suffered.

 

The Court will hold a Settlement Approval Hearing on May 12, 2021.  At this hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the proposed settlement (as fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Class) and the request for Plaintiffs’ counsel’s legal fees, disbursements and taxes.  More information about the hearing is available here.

 

If the Court approves the proposed settlement, eligible Class Members may make a claim for financial compensation during a time period set by the Court.  There is no money available at this time.  The claims process has not started.  More information on how to make a claim will be available if the proposed settlement is approved.

 

What are your legal rights and options at this time?

 

  1. Do nothing

    If you support the settlement agreement, you do not have to do anything right now.

  2. Object to the proposed settlement

    If you do not wish to attend the hearing, but you would like to object to the settlement, you can also complete an
    Objection Form available here. This form will include your name, address, and the reasons why you do not support the settlement.

    You must mail this Form to Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc., Attention: Ontario Crown Ward Class Action Settlement, PO Box 507 STN B, Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6, or email it to
    info@ontariocrownwardclassaction.ca and it must be received or postmarked no later than April 1, 2021.

  3. Participate at the settlement hearing

    You can attend the approval hearing on
    May 12, 2021 to participate in the proceeding and voice your objection to the proposed settlement. The hearing will proceed virtually. The Court will decide if you will be permitted to make oral submissions at the time of the hearing. However, in order to be eligible to participate, you must have completed and submitted the Objection Form setting out your reasons for objecting to the proposed settlement.



Important Dates

 

 

April 1, 2021

Objection Deadline

 

May 12, 2021

Settlement Approval Hearing

Address

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