CAUTION:The information on this webpage may be triggering. When you read it, please make sure people close to you are present for support. If you need emotional supports, you may be eligible for the non-insured health benefits program. If you’re experiencing emotional distress and want to talk, we strongly encourage you to call the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Line at 1-855-242-3310. It’s toll free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or the emergency number in your community.

Forced Sterilization Class Action

This class action concerns Aboriginal women (First Nation, Inuit, and Métis) who were sterilized without their proper and/or informed consent in the Province of Saskatchewan.

HISTORY – WHY WAS AN ACTION COMMENCED?

In 2015, media reports surfaced indicating that many Aboriginal women were coerced into having tubal ligations in Saskatchewan. In July of 2017, in response to the allegations of forced sterilization, the then Saskatoon Health Region (now the Saskatchewan Health Authority) released a Review titled - External Review: Tubal Ligation in the Saskatoon Health Region: The Lived Experience of Aboriginal Women. The Report highlighted “pervasive systemic racism” in the health care system and detailed the experiences of Aboriginal women from Saskatoon and surrounding areas, who had reported being coerced into having tubal ligations.

The representative class action plaintiffs, M.R.L.P and S.A.T, are being represented by Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors. Maurice Law has commenced a proposed class action against all health regions across the Province of Saskatchewan, the Federal Government, the Saskatchewan Government, as well as individual medical professionals. The further Amended Statement of Claim alleges that the Defendants:

  • breached common law duties owed to the plaintiffs, the torts of battery of a sexual nature, trespass against the person of a sexual nature, false imprisonment, negligence and negligent misrepresentation;
  • breach of contract and breach of fiduciary obligations owed to the Aboriginal women plaintiffs; and
  • breach of the plaintiff’s Charter rights, including violations of the right to the freedom of conscience, belief and religion, violation of the right to life, liberty and security of the person, the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment; and violation of the right to access health care services free from discrimination based on race and gender. 

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE FURTHER AMENDED STATEMENT OF CLAIM

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION

CLICK HERE FOR A COPY OF, “External Review: Tubal Ligation in the Saskatoon Health Region: The Lived Experience of Aboriginal Women”

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:

The first step in a proposed class action is Certification, which asks the Court to consider whether the action can proceed as a class action, and defines the class as well as the common issues to be determined on behalf of the class.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

If the Court certifies the action, all persons who fit within the class definition will automatically be included in the class. However, class members will be given the opportunity to exclude themselves from the proceeding if they choose.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS TO THE CLASS IF THE ACTION IS SUCCESSFUL?

Counsel have entered into an agreement with the representative plaintiffs with respect to legal fees and disbursements. The agreement provides that Counsel will not receive payment for their work unless and until the class action is successful. The amount of the fee would require court approval.

REGISTRATION

It is not necessary to “register” in order to participate in a proposed class action. However, we are keeping a database of potential class members so that if the action is certified or if there are any other material developments that require notice, you can receive direct notification. If you would like to be added to our database of known potential claimants, please complete the registration form below.

I provide my consent and agree herein to receive communication from Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors, which may include announcement regarding this class action, or other information which may be of interest. I understand that consent to receive these electronic communications may be withdrawn at any time by contacting Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors.
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Please note that registration with Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors does not mean that you are a part of the class action; that determination is made by the Court in the certification process. If the action is certified, you will have an opportunity to decide whether or not to participate. Registration makes sure that you receive direct notice of certification and of the opportunity to exercise your right to opt out or to continue to participate in the action.

UPDATES - LITIGATION

January 18, 2018: Justice G.M. Currie of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench is designated by Chief Justice Popescul to consider the certification application under section 4(2) of The Class Actions Act, SS 2001, c C-12.01
February 16, 2018: Class Counsel applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench to certify the action as a class action.
April 12, 2018: Class Counsel filed an amended application for certification to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench.
May 25, 2018: The Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Named Doctors applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench seeking a Court Order for the:
  • production of documents;
  • proposed representative plaintiffs to attend a cross-examination on their affidavits in support for certification; and
  • disclosure of the identities on a continuing basis of any putative class members
May 25, 2018: The Government of Saskatchewan applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench to cross-examine the proposed representative plaintiffs on their affidavits filed in support for certification on similar terms as the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Named Doctors.
June 1, 2018: The Attorney General of Canada applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench to cross-examine the proposed representative plaintiffs on their affidavits filed in support for certification on similar terms as the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Named Doctors.
June 1, 2018: Class Counsel filed the Affidavit of M.R.L.P dated June 1, 2018 setting out the protocol to govern the conduct of a cross-examination for the proposed representative plaintiffs.
June 4, 2018: The Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Named Doctors jointly applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench for an order to strike out the Affidavit of M.R.L.P date June 1, 2018.
June 5, 2018: The Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Named Doctors and the Government of Saskatchewan filed a notice of objection for the Affidavit of Dr. Karen Stote dated February 5, 2018 (the Plaintiffs’ expert witness).
June 5, 2018: The Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Named Doctors filed a brief of law in support of their application dated May 25, 2018.
June 6, 2018: Class Counsel filed a brief of law to support their position that:
  • procedural accommodations governing the cross-examinations of the proposed representative plaintiffs are necessary;
  • the scope for production of documents of the proposed representative plaintiffs ought to be narrowed; and,
  • the disclosure of the identities on a continuing basis of any putative class members is unnecessary and a breach of the women’s right to privacy at this stage in the putative class action.
June 8, 2018: The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench heard oral arguments concerning the defendants aforementioned applications.
September 19, 2018: Justice Currie issued his decision concerning the various applications concerning disclosure and the cross-examination of the proposed representative plaintiffs. The general outcome of the decision is as follows:
  • Parts of M.R.L.P’s Affidavit of June 1, 2018 were struck;
  • Within 60 days of receiving document disclosure or as otherwise agreed, the proposed representative plaintiffs will be cross-examined on their affidavits by the defendants’ counsel without procedural accommodations but “with respect and, as much as is possible in the circumstances, with sensitivity”;
  • The proposed representative plaintiffs must produce all medical and pharmaceutical records to the defendants provided to their Class Counsel;
  • The proposed representative plaintiffs must provide authorizations for defendants to access printouts of medical services provided to the proposed representative plaintiffs from 9 months prior to the birth of the proposed representative plaintiffs’ first children to the present;
  • Upon request of the defendants’ counsel, the proposed representative plaintiffs must additionally authorize defendants to obtain copies of medical records not in the possession of the Class Counsel covering the period in (3) above;
  • Upon receipt of medical records in (5), the defendants will provide copies of such documents to Class Counsel; and,
  • Class Counsel does not have to disclose the identities of potential class members.

UPDATES - ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS RAISING INITIATIVES 

Please check back soon. 
 

SPEAKING TO A LAWYER

If you wish to speak to a lawyer involved in this class action, please call us. We will answer your questions regarding this proposed class action at no cost to you. Requests for information or questions for Class Counsel should be directed by email or telephone to:

CLASS COUNSEL

Alisa R. Lombard, Associate
Tel: 306-986-1557 Ext. 305
Email: alombard@mauricelaw.com
   
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