Class Action commenced against Gov. of Alberta for Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women

TORONTO /CNW/ – On December 18, 2018, Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, along with Cooper Regel in Edmonton, commenced a class action against the Government of Alberta on behalf of Indigenous women subjected to forced sterilizations in the province.

Until 1972, Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act explicitly authorized forced sterilizations in the province. After the Sexual Sterilization Act was repealed, doctors and nurses in Alberta continued to perform coerced sterilizations on Indigenous women. These actions were the product of systemic and institutional racism against Indigenous Peoples.

The claim alleges that the Government of Alberta, including its senior officers, directors, bureaucrats, ministers and executives, had specific and complete knowledge of widespread coerced sterilizations perpetrated upon Indigenous women. The claim further alleges that the Government of Alberta turned a blind eye to this conduct, was negligent, breached its fiduciary duties and violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The lawsuit is brought on behalf of all Indigenous women who were sterilized in Alberta prior to December 14, 2018 without their proper and informed consent.

The lawsuit seeks $500 million in damages, plus an additional $50 million in punitive damages.

“The coerced sterilization of Indigenous women is yet another dark chapter in the already chilling chronicle of Canadian governments’ relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The systemic sterilization of Indigenous women is state-sponsored sexual assault,” said Celeste Poltak, the lawyer leading the case at Koskie Minsky LLP.

“This court action is a powerful and practical means for finally achieving access to justice for the victims. The litigation of this claim will afford the Government an opportunity to both examine the failings that permitted this situation and provide meaningful compensation to the victims,” Ms. Poltak said.

SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

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