Sexual misconduct hearing announced

DND

OTTAWA, July 18, 2019 /CNW/ – While not admitting liability, the Government of Canada has agreed to a settlement regarding class action lawsuits initiated by seven former members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on behalf of current and former members of the CAF and current and former employees of the Department of National Defence (DND) and/or Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces, who experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (“Sexual Misconduct”) in connection with their military service, and/or employment.

The Federal Court will hold a hearing on September 19 and 20, 2019 in Ottawa to decide if the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the class, and if approved, will certify these lawsuits for the purposes of settlement. The proposed settlement provides financial compensation, the option to participate in a restorative engagement program, and several other measures aimed at addressing Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Federal Court must certify these lawsuits as class actions and approve the proposed settlement before money is available and other aspects of the settlement are implemented.

Current and former members of the CAF and current and former employees of DND and Staff of the Non-Public Funds who experienced Sexual Misconduct in the military workplace may be able to receive compensation under the proposed settlement if it is approved by the Court. The range of individual compensation for most eligible Class Members is $5,000 and $55,000. The payment will depend on the type of Sexual Misconduct and an assessment of the harm suffered. Payment amounts will also depend on how many Class Members submit claims in the proposed settlement. Class Members who experienced exceptional harm (and in the case of those who have previously been denied VAC benefits in respect of that harm, and whose application for reconsideration is also denied) may be eligible for amounts up to $155,000. The details are explained in the proposed Settlement Agreement. A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available here: caf-dnd-sexualmisconductclassaction.com.

Backgrounder

If it is approved by the Court, eligible Class Members may be able to receive compensation under the proposed settlement or they may choose to opt out of the proposed settlement. They have the following legal rights and options:

1. Do nothing
If you support the settlement agreement, you do not have to do anything right now. Please note that by doing nothing, you will give up any right to object to the settlement and you will give up the right to sue Canada or others on your own or bring a Human Rights complaint in relation to any sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination you experienced while serving in the military or as a DND/SNPF employee.

2. Opt Out
If you don’t want to be bound by the settlement if it is approved by the Court, you can Opt Out of the class action, at that time. More information about how and when to Opt Out will be provided when and if the settlement is approved. You will have 90 days from the date the Court issues an order approving the settlement to make your decision. If you Opt Out, you will not be entitled to any financial compensation from the settlement, but you will keep your right to sue Canada or others on your own or bring a Human Rights complaint in relation to any sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination you experienced while serving in the military, or as a DND/SNPF employee, subject to any time or other legal limitations applying to your claim.

If you have commenced a legal proceeding against Canada for damages resulting from the Sexual Misconduct covered by this settlement and you do not discontinue it before the Opt Out Date fixed by the Court, you will be automatically deemed to have Opted Out of the Settlement and you will not be able to claim compensation.

Class Members who died before March 15, 2019 are not eligible for compensation under the settlement. Estates of Class Members who died before March 15, 2019 that wish to seek compensation should seek legal advice promptly regarding their options.

3. Submit a statement of support
If you do not wish to attend the hearing, but you would like to explain why you support the settlement, you can complete a Participation Form. This form will include your name, address, and the reasons why you support the settlement. The Participation Form can be found at caf-dnd-sexualmisconductclassaction.com. You must mail this Form to CAF DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action c/o Deloitte, Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower, 8 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 0A9, or email it to cafdndmisconduct@deloitte.com and it must be received or postmarked no later than August 30, 2019.

4. Object to the proposed settlement
If you do not wish to attend the hearing, but you would like to explain why you object to the settlement, you can also complete a Participation Form. This form will include your name, address, and the reasons why you do not support the settlement. The Participation Form can be found at caf-dnd-sexualmisconductclassaction.com. You must mail this Form to CAF DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action c/o Deloitte, Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower, 8 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 0A9, or email it to cafdndmisconduct@deloitte.com and it must be received or postmarked no later than August 30, 2019.

5. Participate at the settlement hearing
You can attend the approval hearing at the Federal Court in Ottawa, 90 Sparks Street, on September 19 and 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to participate in the proceeding and voice your support or objection to the proposed settlement in person. 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 participation form setting out your reasons for supporting or objecting to the proposed settlement.

For more information, please visit caf-dnd-sexualmisconductclassaction.com, call 1-888-626-2611, email: cafdndmisconduct@deloitte.ca, or write to CAF DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action c/o Deloitte, Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower, 8 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 0A9