Quebec court approves $60M class action settlement against religious congregation

Brothers of the Sacred Heart allegedly committed systemic sexual abuse over several decades

Quebec court approves $60M class action settlement against religious congregation

The Superior Court of Quebec has approved a settlement agreement for an aggregate amount of $60 million in relation to class actions filed against the religious congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

The class comprises all those who have been sexually assaulted by a religious member of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart either:

  • while they were in any training establishment, school, college, leisure establishment, activity center, camp, residence, parish, place of worship or any other place in Quebec before July 9, or
  • while they were students, boarders or candidates for admission to Mont Sacré-Coeur de Granby, including the Collège Mont-Sacré-Cœur, the boarding schools and the juniorate, between 1932 and 2008.

The defendants and their counsel will have no right to challenge, review or intervene in the claims process, said a news release from Kugler Kandestin LLP, class counsel. Class members must file a claim form by July 30, 2022 in order to benefit from the settlement agreement, and will then attend a private and confidential meeting with a claims arbitrator.

Class counsel appointed Claudette Picard and Pepita Capriolo, retired judges of the Superior Court of Quebec, as arbitrators, in which role they will decide on the admissibility of the claim and the category of compensation that each class member can receive. The amount of compensation for each category will only be determined after the arbitrators have decided all claims.

According to Kugler Kandestin’s website, in November 2017 the Quebec Superior Court granted an application for authorization to file a class action for access to justice for those sexually abused during their childhood by religious members of the Brothers of Sacred Heart associated with Collège Mont-Sacré- Cœur in Granby, Que. The action alleged that at least 18 religious brothers committed systemic, reprehensible and unacceptable sexual abuse over several decades.

In February 2019, class counsel brought an application for authorization for another class action that sought access to justice for other victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by religious members of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart across the province, which was granted by the Quebec Superior Court in December 2019.

The resulting class lawsuit asked for compensatory damages for each victim, as well as $15 million in punitive and exemplary damages. The Superior Court conducted a case management conference on Oct. 2, 2020, at which point it decided on the timeline to allow the case to proceed.

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