Class Actions

Crown Ward Class Action —

This certified class action is brought against the Government of Ontario for its failure to advise Ontario Crown wards who suffered criminal abuse, neglect or other tortious acts, before or during their wardship, of their rights to commence lawsuits and/or applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, as well as the Government of Ontario’s failure, in certain circumstances, to take steps to protect Crown Wards’ legal rights, including asserting claims for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Case Summary

This class action alleges that the Government of Ontario failed in its duties to advise the children in the permanent care of the province (“Crown wards”) who were victims of criminal abuse, neglect or other tortious acts before and/or while they were Crown wards of their rights to commence lawsuits and/or to make applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. This class action also alleges that, in certain circumstances, the Government of Ontario failed in its duties to take steps to protect the legal rights of Crown wards in respect of these potential lawsuits and/or applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Ontario is the only Defendant. Neither individual abusers nor any Children’s Aid Society (“CAS”) entities are named as defendants, nor will they be bound by the outcome of the class action. The class members’ claims for the harms that they have suffered by abusers are not part of this class action. Those abuse claims are individual claims that every Crown ward is entitled to pursue on their own.

This proceeding was certified as a class proceeding by order of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 30, 2017.

The class is:

All persons who were alive as of January 22, 2012, who became Crown wards in Ontario at any time from the period on or after January 1,1966 until March 30, 2017. Crown wards meeting these criteria are automatically included in the class action unless they opted out by the deadline of March 11, 2018.

When the action was commenced in 2014, there were limitation periods which may have prevented commencing lawsuits against individual abusers (and any organizations responsible for the abuse). However, in 2016, the law was changed to eliminate limitation periods for civil claims of sexual assault and physical abuse of minors, so these claims can now be pursued by class members when or if they wish to do so. Class members are encouraged to seek legal advice about pursuing such claims, which are outside the scope of the class action.

Class members who experienced abuse before or while they were Crown Wards may also be able to access services or potentially qualify for compensation from Ontario’s Victim Crisis Assistance programs. Information about getting assistance is available here.

On May 26, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a motion to approve a proposed settlement of the class action. Leave to appeal this decision was denied by the Ontario Divisional Court on September 20, 2021. The parties are now in renewed settlement discussions through mediation.

Until this year, Class Counsel in this class action was Koskie Minsky LLP. On January 26, 2024, the Superior Court of Justice appointed Waddell Phillips P.C. as class counsel to replace Koskie Minsky LLP. The change of class counsel was supported by the Representative Plaintiffs and Koskie Minsky LLP.

A message from Koskie Minsky LLP about the change of class counsel is set out in the “Updates” section of the Waddell Phillips Crown Ward Class Action webpage.

The class action remains ongoing. Waddell Phillips P.C. is committed to aggressively prosecuting this class action to obtain access to justice for the class.

Any queries about the Crown wards class action should be directed to Waddell Phillips P.C.’s offices by email at reception@waddellphillips.ca or call toll-free at 1-877-869-8218.

Case Summary

This class action alleges that the Government of Ontario failed in its duties to advise the children in the permanent care of the province (“Crown wards”) who were victims of criminal abuse, neglect or other tortious acts before and/or while they were Crown wards of their rights to commence lawsuits and/or to make applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. This class action also alleges that, in certain circumstances, the Government of Ontario failed in its duties to take steps to protect the legal rights of Crown wards in respect of these potential lawsuits and/or applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Ontario is the only Defendant. Neither individual abusers nor any Children’s Aid Society (“CAS”) entities are named as defendants, nor will they be bound by the outcome of the class action. The class members’ claims for the harms that they have suffered by abusers are not part of this class action. Those abuse claims are individual claims that every Crown ward is entitled to pursue on their own.

This proceeding was certified as a class proceeding by order of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 30, 2017.

The class is:

All persons who were alive as of January 22, 2012, who became Crown wards in Ontario at any time from the period on or after January 1,1966 until March 30, 2017. Crown wards meeting these criteria are automatically included in the class action unless they opted out by the deadline of March 11, 2018.

When the action was commenced in 2014, there were limitation periods which may have prevented commencing lawsuits against individual abusers (and any organizations responsible for the abuse). However, in 2016, the law was changed to eliminate limitation periods for civil claims of sexual assault and physical abuse of minors, so these claims can now be pursued by class members when or if they wish to do so. Class members are encouraged to seek legal advice about pursuing such claims, which are outside the scope of the class action.

Class members who experienced abuse before or while they were Crown Wards may also be able to access services or potentially qualify for compensation from Ontario’s Victim Crisis Assistance programs. Information about getting assistance is available here.

On May 26, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a motion to approve a proposed settlement of the class action. Leave to appeal this decision was denied by the Ontario Divisional Court on September 20, 2021. The parties are now in renewed settlement discussions through mediation.

Until this year, Class Counsel in this class action was Koskie Minsky LLP. On January 26, 2024, the Superior Court of Justice appointed Waddell Phillips P.C. as class counsel to replace Koskie Minsky LLP. The change of class counsel was supported by the Representative Plaintiffs and Koskie Minsky LLP.

A message from Koskie Minsky LLP about the change of class counsel is set out in the “Updates” section of the Waddell Phillips Crown Ward Class Action webpage.

The class action remains ongoing. Waddell Phillips P.C. is committed to aggressively prosecuting this class action to obtain access to justice for the class.

Any queries about the Crown wards class action should be directed to Waddell Phillips P.C.’s offices by email at reception@waddellphillips.ca or call toll-free at 1-877-869-8218.

A Message from Koskie Minsky LLP:

Koskie Minsky LLP would like to update you on a development regarding this case. In Koskie Minsky LLP’s unwavering commitment to securing the best possible outcome for the class members, working with the Representative Plaintiffs, Koskie Minsky LLP have decided to have Margaret Waddell, a highly respected class action lawyer and founding partner at Waddell Phillips PC, assume the role of class counsel going forward, which has now been approved by the Court.

Koskie Minsky LLP remains dedicated to this case.  While the file is transferred and Ms. Waddell and her firm assumes the role of class counsel in the litigation and mediation, Koskie Minsky LLP will assist in the transition and provide other assistance as needed to ensure a seamless continuation of efforts to reach a favorable resolution for the Class.

In selecting Margaret Waddell and her firm Waddell Phillips PC to lead the litigation and negotiations, Koskie Minsky LLP were mindful of her impeccable track record and impressive experience of over 35 years with specialization in class actions. She is not only a founding partner at Waddell Phillips PC but she is also highly respected in the legal community. Among her numerous recognitions, Ms. Waddell’s distinction as a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario and as the recipient of the 2022 OBA Award for Excellence in Class Actions highlight her outstanding credentials. Given the intricacies and challenges of the case, Ms. Waddell’s and her firm’s expertise makes them exceptionally well-suited to steer the action towards a favorable outcome for the class members.


 

Be sure to review our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the file transfer from Koskie Minsky LLP to Waddell Phillips PC. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us for further assistance.

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