Settlement Reached in Canadian Military LGBTQ Purge Class Action
An Agreement in Principle (AIP) was reached on November 24, 2017 between counsel for the class members and the Department of Justice to settle the LGBTQ Purge class action. The AIP was drafted in English and has not yet been translated into French. When the French version becomes available, we will post the AIP in both official languages.
Representative Plaintiffs Approved Settlement
The class action legal team takes its instructions from the three representative plaintiffs, Todd Ross, Martine Roy and Alida Satalic who are all class members. They have been consulted regularly throughout the negotiations and they have approved the settlement.
There are several steps that must be completed before this settlement is finalized and funds are available to the victims of the purge.
The AIP will be developed into a document with detailed legal wording outlining the specifics of the settlement agreement. This document will be called Minutes of Settlement (MOS). It will take a few months to finalize the MOS, but the class action legal team will work hard to complete this as soon as possible.
Court Must Approve the Settlement
Once the MOS has been finalized, it must be submitted to the Court for approval. This will be at a “fairness hearing” before a judge of the Federal Court on a date and in a city to be selected by the Court after consultation with the parties.
The law requires that the settlement be fair and reasonable to the class as a whole, not that it be perfect for any particular class member. Anyone who is happy with the settlement can make the Court or the class action legal team aware of their support. Anyone who is not happy with the settlement can also make the legal team and the Court aware of their concerns.
The class action legal team will take it’s instructions regarding the MOS from the three representative plaintiffs (not from any individual class member).
Class members will be given notice of this fairness hearing in a manner to be determined by the Court. The Court will give class members an opportunity to make their views known about the settlement in a manner to be determined by the Court.
Deciding Whether or not to Participate
No class member will be forced to accept this settlement. Any class member who does not want to participate in the settlement will be given an opportunity to “opt out” in a manner and a time that will be approved by the Federal Court.
Settlement can be Cancelled if too many people Opt Out
If more than 250 class members choose to opt out, the Federal government has the option of cancelling the deal. If less than 250 class members opt out, the deal will be binding on those who did not opt out. Those who did opt out will be free to pursue their own case with their own legal team.
Claim will be administered by a neutral third party
Under the AIP, the settlement funds will be paid by the Federal Government to a professional administrator selected by the parties. The Administrator will accept applications for payment from class members and determine which class members are entitled to payment and how much they are entitled to receive.
Highlights of Settlement
- A total financial settlement valued at up to $145 million
- A fund for individual compensation valued at up to $110 million
- Individual compensation will range based on harm suffered from a minimum of $5,000 up to a maximum of $150,000
- A fund for Reconciliation and Memorialization measures of at least $15 million, under the direction of a panel with government members but controlled by class members
- Two measures that will be included in the Reconciliation and Memorialization measures: a national monument in Ottawa, and a travelling museum exhibit including class members’ stories to be created by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights
- A Canada Pride Citation will be made available to all class members
- An individual letter of apology will be available to all class members
- Class members will be entitled to request a notation on their personnel record that they were not unfit for service because of their sexuality and that the purge policy was wrong
- The Federal Government will pay all fees for the plaintiffs’ legal team in a fixed amount of $15 million pus HST
- The Federal Government will pay for the costs of an independent professional administrator to administer the settlement up to a maximum amount of $5 million.
Summary of Settlement Process
Initial payment: Each approved class member will receive an initial payment of $5,000 as soon as possible after approval. There is a grid of 4 compensation levels intended to pay increased compensation to class members who suffered more significant harm. The Administrator will determine the level of compensation payments for each class member.
Second payment: After a period of time has elapsed, the Administrator will determine whether there is enough money available to pay claimants the full amount set out on the grid. If there is enough money available, everyone will receive a second payment.
Settlement funds not sufficient: If there is a shortfall, the higher levels of compensation will be reduced pro rata to ensure that the available funds are distributed fairly.
Excess of settlement funds: If after approval of all class members the total value of approved claims is less than $50 million, the difference between that amount and the total approved claim amount will be used to enhance the fund for reconciliations and memorialization measures by up to $10 million. If funds remain it will be used to increase compensation payments to claimants.