Settlement Approval for Huronia by Justice Conway
Settlement Approval for Huronia by Justice Conway -Courtesy of Community Living Ontario
As most of you will have heard, the Settlement of the Huronia Regional Centre Class Action lawsuit was approved on Dec. 3, 2013 by Madam Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court. The "Fairness Hearing", as it is called, took place over the course of a long day before a large courtroom overflowing primarily with former residents of the institution. A number of class members took advantage of Her Honour's invitation to address the court about any concerns they have regarding the settlement, and several told about the abuses they experienced while living in Huronia. Justice Conway's reasons for approving the settlement were issued two days later.
There are still some implementation details to be worked out between the judge and the lawyers for the class members and the government before the claims process begins. Among those issues is the question of how complete the list of former residents is at this point, and what is being done to make sure that as few class members as possible will miss out on the opportunity to claim their proper share of the $35 million settlement fund the government has agreed to pay. Community Living Ontario's local Associations and other provincial agencies have been reporting the names and addresses of former residents whom they support, but at this time it appears that fewer than half of those who lived in Huronia between 1945 and 2009 have been identified and contacted.
The total number of class members is estimated by Price Waterhouse to be at least 3,470. If anyone knows about persons who may not have been contacted, it is vital that their names, dates of admission and discharge from Huronia and contact information be forwarded to the Koskie Minsky law firm at http://www.kmlaw.ca/Case-Central/Overview/Status-Of-Case/?rid=99
The final details of how the notice of eligibility to file a claim for compensation and the claim form will be worded and completed are to be determined by a further order of the Court "in or about January, 2014".
The claims process will begin no sooner than 31 days after that order is given, and will extend over a period of 120 days. There will be opportunities for class members and their supporters to learn what they need to know about the claims process in the New Year through face-to-face and on line presentations across Ontario by lawyers from Koskie Minsky and by the government-funded class action administration organization, Crawford Class Action Services. Community Living Ontario staff will also be ready to answer people's questions about the claims process once the details of filing a claim are all worked out.
The Government of Ontario is providing a special service through which former residents of Huronia can receive a copy of their personal resident files at no charge by calling 416-327-6101 or by contacting the Ministry of Community and Social Services at
For more information please contact:
Toll free: 1-855-568-1697
To contact the ministry in writing:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Coordinator
Ministry of Community and Social Services
PO Box 978
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto ON M7A 1N3
Arguably the most important part of the Huronia settlement agreement is Premier Kathleen Wynne's apology to all former residents of institutions operated by the government of Ontario which she made in the Legislature this afternoon.