The litigation process between the federal government and plaintiffs of three class action lawsuits filed on behalf of former and current Canadian Armed Forces members has currently been suspended in an attempt to settle the cases outside the courtroom.
The class action lawsuits related to sexual assault, racism, harassment, and discrimination.
“The government will not be proceeding with motions to strike these proceedings. We look forward to commencing these discussions to bring closure, healing, and acknowledgement to the victims and survivors of sexual assault, racism, harassment, and discrimination.
“We fully acknowledge the impact that racism and harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour may have on victims and survivors. This behaviour, as well as discrimination based on gender or race, must be stopped in our society,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a statement today.
In 2016, the Attorney General of Canada was served with two proposed class action lawsuits alleging systemic sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, and a third alleging discrimination and/or harassment based on Aboriginal status and race.
The plaintiffs are seeking $800 million for themselves and others military members in similar circumstances.
In the last year, the Trudeau government has been accused of trying to quash the case by Veterans and opposing political parties; many disappointed that the government is not showing stronger support for victims of sexual assault.
However, according to Sajjan’s statements today the government and military are working hard to ensure that sexual misconduct is rooted out.
“We have taken unprecedented action to improve and expand victim support for military members who have been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Members are gaining the confidence to come forward as they see incidents being dealt with in a serious and professional manner by the military police investigators and the chain of command. The same zero-tolerance approach is being applied to racist behaviour and all forms of discrimination.
“These focused efforts will continue until all our members are able to perform their duties in an environment free from harassment and discrimination.”