APTN National News
Lawyers for thousands of survivors of the 60s Scoop in Ontario will sit down with the government next week in Toronto to work out a court-ordered settlement.
And that meeting, ordered by Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba, will include lawyers representing other clients across the country who have yet to have their civil suits certified.
According to a spokesperson in Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office, calls have gone out to the lawyers in separate claims but it is not clear how many have accepted.
Belobaba ordered that negotiations take place before the end of the month in his ruling that Canada failed in its fiduciary duty to protect the culture of thousands of Indigenous children in Ontario torn from their families and placed with non-Indigenous families in what is known as the 60s Scoop.
The Ontario civil suit led by Chief Marcia Brown-Martel who is asking for $1.3 billion in damages.
Class-action lawyer David Klein in Vancouver started a similar litigation there five years ago.
He told APTN that his law firm is in talks with the government and hopes to settle out of court by the end of 2017.
There are currently 1,300 people registered with the Klein’s lawsuit and since last week’s ruling in Ontario, that number is growing.
Klein said he expects the settlement amount for BC claimants to be aligned with amounts from Ontario and the rest of the provinces.
“The idea is to have a national settlement, we’re all together in this,” he said adding that he doesn’t yet know what the final numbers will look like.
Outside B.C. there are survivors in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
No Appeal … but.
On the day of the ruling, Bennett was adamant that Canada would not appeal the decision – but waffled when asked the question during a committee meeting Thursday.
NDP MP Romeo Saganash asked about more than $3 million allocated for litigation on the 60s Scoop file. Saganash asked if the money was going towards fighting the ruling.
Bennett didn’t say no and said there were many things to consider.
But a spokesperson for Bennett’s office said that the minister, nor the department has any interest in appealing and will sit down to negotiate.
The issue may rest with lawyers at Justice Department who are reviewing the ruling and deciding whether to ask Belobaba to clarify who exactly is able to be part of the settlement.