60’s Scoop Class Action Lawsuit
Update: December 4, 2014
ONTARIO REGIONAL CHIEF CALLS COURT RULING A RESOUNDING VICTORY WHICH DISMISSES THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S APPEAL IN THE ONTARIO SIXTIES SCOOP CASE
Toronto (Dec 4, 2014) --- Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is pleased with the Ontario Divisional Court’s December 2 decision to dismiss an appeal by the Government of Canada to certify the Sixties Scoop case as a class action lawsuit, calling it a signal that historic injustices to First Nation children are being addressed.
For full News Release click here
The Sixties Scoop refers to a period of time between 1965 and 1984 where thousands of Indigenous children were removed from their homes and communities in Ontario and were placed in non-Indigenous homes. The Sixties Scoop occurred after the introduction of the Canada-Ontario 1965 Agreement and before the implementation of the Ontario Child and Family Services Act.
The plaintiffs claim that because Canada removed them and thousands of children from their Indigenous families and communities between 1965 and 1984, they were stripped of their Indigenous cultural identities and suffered physical and mental health problems. The plaintiffs claim that Canada should have prevented the harmful effects of Ontario’s child welfare system and should have ensured their Indigenous cultural identity was maintained.
In 1965, Ontario and Canada entered into the Canada-Ontario Welfare Services Agreement, under which Ontario agreed to extend its provincial welfare programs to “Indians with Reserve Status,” and Canada agreed to reimburse the province for doing so. In 1984, Ontario passed the Child and Family Services Act (S.O. 1984, c.55), which incorporated protections regarding cultural identity into law.
TIMELINE OF THE CASE
- February 2009: a class action lawsuit against Canada was filed by Chief Marcia Brown-Martel from Beaverhouse First Nation and Robert Commanda from Dokis First Nation (“plaintiffs”) on behalf of themselves, and over 16,000 Indigenous children who were victims of the Sixties Scoop.
- May 2010: in the first class action certification hearing, Justice Perell granted leave to the plaintiffs to amend their claim because it was not “plain and obvious” that there were no viable causes of action. This allowed the plaintiffs to amend their statement of claim in such a way that would support a class action proceeding. A conditional certification process was put into place, but was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal on January 17, 2013. The Court of Appeal held that there must be a new hearing based on the amended statement of claim.
- September 27, 2013: following the new hearing, Justice Belobaba certified the case as a class action and dismissed the Attorney General’s motion to strike out the amended statement of claim.
- December 4, 2013: Canada appealed Justice Belobaba’s decision.
- March 11, 2014: Justice Matheson granted the appeal to Canada.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT
- Attend the Opening Ceremony organized by the Chiefs of Ontario on November 13, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. 361 University Avenue, in Toronto
- Attend the hearing on November 13, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. in Courtroom 6-1 at 361 University Avenue, in Toronto (the hearing room has a capacity of 250, seating is first come-first serve and children/school groups are welcome and encouraged to attend)
- Share what you think about what you witnessed using #SixtiesScoop on Twitter, Facebook or other social media
- Plan rallies
- Organize a walk
- Perform ceremonies such as Sacred Fire Ceremonies, Pipe Ceremonies, Sunrise Ceremonies
- Prayers in our schools, health centres and band offices
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND NEWS CLIPPINGS