Class action: Ontario’s developmentally challenged go to court
David Gutnick on the two women whose childhood stories sparked the class action suit
Earlier this month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Patrick Moore set a trial date, September 2013, for the first of a series of class actions suits against three, now shuttered, Ontario institutions for the developmentally disabled.
Former residents, many of them now middle-aged, are alleging abuse and systemic mistreatment during the years in which they were institutionalized, often as children, in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Government lawyers, in the hearings leading up to this point, said institutions like the former Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia, the first case to have a trial date, were managed “in accordance with the standard of care” of the time.
But as David Gutnick reports, that standard of care is soon to come under intense scrutiny and the day-to-day lives of as many as 12,000 children and adults who lived behind locked doors, in a holdover from Victorian times, should finally see the light of day.