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Institution class actions update


settlement with former residents of Huronia

Earlier this month, we published an update regarding the extension for all Huronia, Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centre claims applications. All claims applications for the closed regional centre class action suits should be submitted by November 30, 2014.

In a notice published by Marilyn Dolmage, one of the key litigation guardians involved with helping former residents of the centres with their cases, there are some key aspects of the claims process that must be done in order for the application to be successful. In doing so, this will benefit both the former residents and their family and friends.

The new deadline date should allow class members more time to prepare their applications, however, there are a number of dates they should keep in mind. Many of the past updates on the class action can be found online, however, this poses a problem for many class members, as they are not regular users of the Internet.

The new deadline date was supposed to help individuals with the claims process, however, it has been reported that there had been many issues with claimants and the whole process of retrieving important files from the now-closed centres. There is a $35-million settlement to be given out to approximately 3,700 eligible former residents of the regional centres. According to Dolmage, the new deadline date means that some class members may not receive their settlement until at least May 2015. In the case that some class members might die before they receive their settlement, preparing a will is an essential part of the claims application.

Requests for files to be retrieved from the regional centres should be made by August 5th in order to assure that people will be able to receive their files well before the deadline. On July 25th and 26th, visitors will be able to go to the Huronia Regional Centre from 10am to 5pm, no registration s required. If visitors missed or are unable to visit the centre on this date, there will be future arrangements for visits to be made.

Dolmage has emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining a strong community for those involved with the class action. While revisiting the centres may reopen some painful memories for former residents, being able to reconnect with former residents and sharing their stories about their time at the centres has provided closure for the family members of the former residents, many of which, had no idea what exactly was going on at the centres.

Overall, the claims process is more than making sure the class members receive justice for the abuse they received during their time at the centres. It's a chance for the community at large to connect with those deeply affected by their time at the centres and to learn and hopefully understand the bigger picture of the impact of institutional harm.