CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc. (“Epiq Canada”) recently learned that a limited amount of data related to the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement was inadvertently disclosed. Epiq Canada took immediate action to restrict access to the information, initiate an extensive investigation, and implement appropriate disciplinary measures.
Epiq Canada has now concluded the investigation and confirmed that information was inadvertently disclosed for a total of 107 claimants. The vast majority of the information involved included name, email address, and/or claimant ID mistakenly sent to another claimant in the class. At no point did Epiq Canada disclose information to anyone outside of the class. Affected claimants are being notified.
Epiq Canada has implemented new procedures to ensure this does not happen again and has taken the appropriate disciplinary action.
Epiq Canada deeply regrets these circumstances, which do not reflect its proven track record of service and extends its apologies to the parties in the case and affected claimants. The changes undertaken reflect the seriousness with which the company takes these issues.
What is this Class Action About?
In 2016 and 2017 seven former members of the Canadian Armed Forces (the “Representative Plaintiffs”) initiated class action lawsuits (“Heyder and Beattie Class Actions”) against the Government of Canada (“Canada”) alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (“Sexual Misconduct”) in connection with their military service and/or employment with the Department of National Defence (“DND”) and/or Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces (“SNPF”).
On consent of the parties, on November 25, 2019, the Federal Court certified the lawsuits as class proceedings and approved a settlement agreement that provides compensation to current and former members the Canadian Armed Forces (“CAF”) and current and former employees of the DND/SNPF who experienced Sexual Misconduct. The settlement is not be construed as an admission of liability on the part of Canada.
Who can receive money under this class action?
You are a Class Member, and are included in the settlement, if you are a current or former CAF member and/or DND/SNPF employee who has experienced Sexual Misconduct.
“CAF Class Members” have been defined as follows:
All current or former CAF members who experienced Sexual Misconduct up to and including November 25, 2019, who have not opted out of the Heyder or Beattie Class Actions.
“DND/SNPF Class Members” have been defined as follows:
All current and former employees of DND and of the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces, who experienced Sexual Misconduct up to and including November 25, 2019, who have not Opted Out of the Heyder or Beattie Class Actions.
“Sexual Misconduct” means the following, in Connection with Military Service for the CAF Class and in Connection with Employment for the DND/SNPF Class:
- Sexual harassment;
- Sexual assault; and/or
- Discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Eligible Class Member” is defined as a Class Member who was alive as of March 15, 2019, and whose application for an Individual Payment is approved in accordance with the provisions of the Final Settlement Agreement.
What does the settlement provide?
The settlement provides:
Financial compensation (money) for certain Class Members who experienced Sexual Misconduct connected with their military service and/or employment for DND/SNPF.
The option to participate in a restorative engagement program for survivors to share their experiences of Sexual Misconduct with senior CAF and/or DND representatives;
Changes to CAF policies and other measures addressing Sexual Misconduct in the CAF; and
Changes to Veteran’s Affairs Canada (VAC) policies related to eligibility for disability payments and reconsideration of claims by a dedicated unit of employees established to assist with these claims.
Click here to view the Financial Compensation Grid.
What is Restorative Engagement?
Restorative Engagement provides class members with an opportunity to share their sexual misconduct experiences with a Senior Defence Representative through dialogue facilitated by specially-trained Restorative Practitioners. The purpose of Restorative Engagement is to:
- create a safe space to allow class members’ lived experiences of sexual misconduct to be heard, responded to, and acknowledged by the Department of National Defence (DND)/Canadian Armed Forces (CAF);
- contribute to culture change within the military workplace by increasing awareness and understanding of the experiences of class members and the context within which harm has occurred; and,
- begin the process of restoring the relationship between class members and the CAF and DND.
The work required to design and develop Restorative Engagement is in progress and the program is expected to launch in 2021.
To learn more about Restorative Engagement and how to participate, visit canada.ca/restorative-engagement.
How do I file a claim?
The only way to get money from the settlement is to submit a claim form.
If you experienced sexual misconduct while working in the military workplace and you did not opt out before the February 24, 2020 Opt Out Deadline, or are not deemed* to have opted out, you may file a claim for money and/or seek to participate in the restorative engagement program.
In order to submit a claim for money, and/or seek to participate in the restorative engagement program, you must submit an Individual Application/Claim Form together with all supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator starting on May 25, 2020 and ending no later than November 24, 2021.
The deadline to file a claim expired on November 24, 2021.
* A class member is deemed to have opted out if they did not discontinue a proceeding brought by the member that raises the issues of fact and law covered by these actions.