Alberta Child Welfare Class Action

Alberta Child Welfare Class Action

On June 29, 2004 a class proceeding was commenced, against the Government of Alberta on behalf of all persons who, while resident in Alberta, came under the supervision of Alberta Child Welfare (i.e. via a PGT/PGA or TGO) between July 1, 1966 and February 19, 2008. The claim alleges that the Government of Alberta failed to take steps to protect or inform Class Members, of their legal claims and/or the availability of victims of crime compensation.

A Settlement of this action was approved by the Alberta Court in November 2015. The deadline to make claims in the Settlement ended on January 15, 2017. The claims review process is still ongoing. Some claims are paid from Victims of Crime Funds while others are paid from an Alternate Claims Fund. Claimants whose settlement payments are to be paid from the Alternate Claims Fund will be paid when the claims review process is completed.

Alberta Child Welfare Class Action Notice of Settlement Approval

Please read this notice carefully as it may affect your rights

Attention class members

All persons who suffered injuries before or during a time when they were subject to a permanent wardship order or permanent guardianship order by Alberta Child Welfare between July 1, 1966 and February 19, 2008, or a temporary guardianship order by Alberta Child Welfare between July 1, 1985 and February 19, 2008.

Purpose of this notice

This notice advises class members that a settlement agreement has been approved by the court. The settlement agreement resolves a class action lawsuit regarding the alleged breach of duty by the director of child welfare and others to make claims under crimes compensation legislation or file lawsuits on behalf of class members who suffered injuries while they were in the care of Alberta Child Welfare.

The defendants deny the allegations and any wrongdoing or liability. The allegations made by the plaintiffs have not been proven in court.

The class action is known as T.L., R.M., and J.S. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta as Represented by the Director of Child Welfare and the Public Trustee, Action No.: 0403-12989 in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

This lawsuit was certified as a class action on February 19, 2008. The time to opt-out of the action has passed.  All those meeting the criteria of class membership are bound by this settlement.

Summary of the settlement agreement

  • Class members will be entitled to make an application to the Victims of Crime Financial Benefits Program (VOC), regardless how much time has passed since the right to make an application for compensation arose.
  • In the event that any class members’ claims are rejected under the VOC for being too late (i.e., outside the time period permitted under the Victims of Crime Act), the claim can be submitted to an independent adjudicator for evaluation in an alternative claims process.
  • Claims adjudicated under the alternative claims process will be determined on the same criteria for eligibility and compensation as under the VOC (not including limitations considerations).
  • The defendants will create a fund of up to $6.5 million, out of which eligible claims in the alternative claims process concerning class members who were subject to Permanent Wardship/Guardianship Orders/Agreements may be paid; and a fund of up to $1 million, out of which eligible claims in the alternative claims process concerning class members who were subject to Temporary Guardianship Orders may be paid.
  • All eligible VOC claims will be paid by the VOC Fund, (over and above the monies provided by the defendants to pay for eligible claims in the alternative claims process).

Further details regarding the settlement agreement may be viewed at: www.mckenzielake.com or by contacting class counsel as listed below.

Making a claim

All class member claims under the settlement agreement must start with the making of an application to the Victims of Crime program, prior to January 15, 2017.

For application forms and information on making a claim to the VOC:

If your application is rejected by the VOC because it is too late (beyond the limitation period), you may advise the adjudicator that you wish your application to be considered under the alternative claims process. If your application is rejected by VOC, you will be told how to apply to the adjudicator.

If you elect instead to have your rejected VOC claim proceed through the appeal process under the VOC, you will forfeit your opportunity to participate in the alternative claims process. The alternative claims process is final, there are no appeals from determinations by the adjudicator.

If you require assistance or want further information regarding the process for making claims, you can contact class counsel (contact details below).

Legal fees

As part of the settlement agreement, the defendants have agreed to pay $750,000 towards class counsel’s reasonable lawyer fees and expenses.  The remaining legal fees are payable on a contingency fee basis, being up to 10% of all VOC applications approved by VOC for Class Members and 33.33% of all applications approved by the independent adjudicator in the alternative claims process.  The lawyer fees and expenses have been approved by the court.

Further information

For further information please contact class counsel as follows:

McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP
140 Fullarton Street, Suite 1800
London, Ontario N6A 5P2
1-800-261-4844
albertachildwelfare@mckenzielake.com
www.mckenzielake.com

Publication of this notice has been authorized by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench


Here is the link to the Victims of Crime Financial Benefits application form.

The form cannot be submitted online. It will need to be printed off and mailed or faxed to the address/fax # indicated on the form, or scanned/e-mailed to financialbenefits@gov.ab.ca


NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF ALBERTA CHILD WELFARE CLASS ACTION

To: Persons who suffered injuries while they were subject to a permanent wardship order or permanent guardianship order by Alberta Child Welfare between July 1, 1966 and February 19, 2008, or a temporary guardianship order by Alberta Child Welfare between July 1, 1985 and February 19, 2008.

Read more here or download the notice.

To review a copy of the Settlement Agreement, click here.


I. On June 29, 2004 a class proceeding was commenced, against the Government of Alberta on behalf of all persons who, while resident in Alberta, came under the supervision of Alberta Child Welfare as a result of being assaulted, sexually assaulted or injured as a minor. The claim alleges that the Government of Alberta failed to take steps to protect the legal rights of the child in respect of their possible legal claim. This claim was amended on November 25, 2004.

Amended Statement of Claim, dated November, 25, 2004

II. On February 8, 2006 Justice Slatter released the first decision related to certification of this action as a Class Proceeding.

Reasons for Judgment of Justice Slatter, dated February 8, 2006

III. On February 19, 2008 the Honourable Justice Thomas of the Alberta Court of Queen`s Bench certified this case as a class proceeding. The Certification Order defines the class as:

All persons who, while resident in Alberta, suffered personal injury while a minor as a result of a tort by a third party, and between July 1, 1966 and the certification date (February 19, 2008), were in the actual custody of Child Welfare:

i.     As a permanent ward,

ii.     Under a Permanent or Temporary Guardianship Order, or

iii.     Under a Permanent Guardianship Agreement.

And for whom the Defendants did not make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, R.S.A. 1980 c. c-33 or the Victims of Crime Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. V-3, or commence a civil action to obtain compensation on their behalf.

The Certification Order also:

b.     Appointed T.L., R.M. and J.S. as the Representative Plaintiffs for the class; and,

c.     Added the Public Trustee for Alberta as a Defendant.

Reasons for Judgment of Justice Thomas, dated February 19, 2008

Certification Order of Justice Thomas, filed February 19, 2008

The form of the Notice to the Class was approved by Justice Thomas on February 26, 2009. Please click here for an updated copy of the Notice to the Class.

IV. On January 27, 2014, McKenzie Lake Lawyers were appointed as counsel of record in this matter by Order of Justice Thomas.

Order of Justice Thomas, dated January 27, 2014

Litigation Plan of the Plaintiffs, dated January 27, 2014

V. In addition to the above, the following Decisions and Orders have been made in this matter:

Statement of Defence of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta as represented by the Public Trustee, filed January 30, 2009

Reply to the Statement of Defence of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta as represented by the Public Trustee, filed February 24, 2009

Statement of Defence of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta as represented by the Director of Child Welfare, filed January 30, 2009

Reply to the Statement of Defence of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta as represented by the Director of Child Welfare, filed February 24, 2009

Memorandum of Decision of Justice Thomas, dated February 26, 2009 (re: non-resident subclass & Notice of Certification)

Reasons for Judgment of Justice Thomas, dated January 20, 2010 (re: identification of privileged documents)

Memorandum of Decision of Justice Thomas, dated March 25, 2010 (re: scope of the Affidavit of Records)

Memorandum of Decision of Justice Thomas, dated August 3, 2010 (re: dismissal of Defendants’ applications to add guardians of representative plaintiffs as Third Parties)