Frequently asked questions (FAQS)


1. What is a class action?

In a class action, the Plaintiffs act as “Class Representatives” and sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. This group of people is called the “Class,” and the people in the Class are called “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for people who exclude themselves from the Class. The Honourable Justice Fothergill of the Federal Courts is in charge of this case. The case is Sherry Heyder, Amy Graham and Nadine Schultz-Nielsen v. the Attorney General of Canada (“Heyder Class Action”) Court File Number T-2111-16 and Larry Beattie v. The Attorney General of Canada (“Beattie Class Action”) Court File Number T-460-17.

2. 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.

3. Who can receive compensation 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:

  1. Sexual harassment;
  2. Sexual assault; and/or
  3. 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.

4. What does the settlement provide?

The settlement provides:

  1. Financial compensation for certain Class Members who experienced Sexual Misconduct connected with their military service and/or employment for DND/SNPF.

    Upon assessment of the nature of the incidents of Sexual Misconduct and the severity of the harm suffered as a result of those incidents, Class Members may be eligible for an Individual Payment in relation to incidents of Sexual Misconduct occurring during the Class Period, that is comprised of the Financial Compensation Amounts for which they are assessed as eligible, as set out in the Financial Compensation Grid (the "Compensation Amounts") (see table below), subject to the limitations set out in Sections 7.11 - 7.15, 12.01, 12.02 and 12.03 of the settlement agreement.

  2. 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;

  3. Changes to CAF policies and other measures addressing Sexual Misconduct in the CAF; and

  4. 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.


Category Category Description Financial Compensation Level (CAD) Harm Level
A
  • Sexual harassment, gender-based and LGBTQ2+ based discrimination
  • Limited to women and those who identify as LGBTQ2+
  • Limited to incidents occurring after April 17, 1985
$5,000.00 N/A
B1 Targeted or ongoing or severe sexual harassment and/or sexual assault in the form of unwanted sexual touching $5,000.00 Low Harm
$10,000.00 Medium Harm
$20,000.00 High Harm
B2 Sexual assault in the form of sexual attack or sexual activity where no consent or unable to consent $30,000.00 Low Harm
$40,000.00 Medium Harm
$50,000.00 High Harm
C Enhanced Payment: Class Members who suffer or suffered from PTSD or other diagnosed mental injuries, or physical injuries arising from sexual assault or sexual harassment for which, for CAF Class Members, VAC benefits have been applied for and denied and/or have sought reconsideration and been denied. $50,000.00 Low Harm
$75,000.00 Medium Harm
$100,000.00 High Harm
5. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do nothing, you automatically remain a Class Member (if you qualify), and you will give up the right to sue Canada or others on your own or bring a Human Rights complaint in relation to any sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination you experienced while serving in the military or as a DND/SNPF employee.

6. How do I submit a claim?

In order to submit a claim for financial compensation, 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 March 25, 2020 and no later than September 25, 2021.

Claims forms will be available after the end of the opt out period. You will be able to submit a claim online through this website. It’s fast, easy and secure.

Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc.
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
P.O. Box 507 STN B
Ottawa ON K1P 5P6
Email: info@caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca
Tel: 1-888-626-2611
TTY: 1-877-627-7027
Fax: 1-866-262-0816

7. How will my compensation be calculated?

Your payment will depend on the type of Sexual Misconduct you experienced in connection with your military service and/or DND/SNPF employment and an assessment of the harm you suffered. It will also depend on how many Class Members submit claims.

The range of individual compensation for most Class Members could be between five thousand dollars ($5,000.00 CAD) and fifty-five thousand dollars ($55,000.00 CAD).

Class Members who experienced exceptional harm (and in the case of those who are denied VAC benefits in respect of that harm, including those who have previously been denied VAC benefits in respect of that harm and whose application for reconsideration is also denied), may be eligible for amounts up to one hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars ($155,000.00 CAD). Details are explained in the settlement agreement. A copy of the agreement is available here.

Total Amount available for Individual Compensation for CAF Class

The total amount payable by Canada in respect of individual compensation in respect of the CAF Class is limited to the sum of all Individual Payments assessed as payable to Eligible Class Members as defined in the settlement agreement, and shall not in any circumstances exceed the sum of eight hundred million dollars ($800,000,000.00 CAD) (“Aggregate Compensation Cap – CAF Class”).

Total Amount available for Individual Compensation for DND/SNPF Class

The total amount payable by Canada in respect of individual compensation in respect of the DND/SNPF Class is limited to the sum of all Individual Payments assessed as payable to Eligible Class Members as defined in the settlement agreement, and shall not in any circumstances exceed the sum of one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000.00 CAD) (“Aggregate Compensation Cap – DND/SNPF Class”).

8. What if I don’t agree with the settlement agreement or Class Counsel fees or disbursements?

The settlement agreement was approved by the Federal Court following the Settlement Approval Hearings held on September 19, 2019, September 20, 2019 and October 3, 2019.

The deadline to object to the settlement was August 30, 2019.

9. What if I do not want to participate in the settlement?

Opting Out is the only option that allows you to keep your right to sue Canada or others on your own or bring a Human Rights complaint in relation to any sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination you experienced while serving in the military, or employed with the DND/SNPF, subject to any time or other legal limitations applying to your claim.

If you Opt Out, you will receive no compensation.

All Opt Out Forms must be submitted to the Claims Administrator no later than February 24, 2020.

If you have commenced a legal proceeding against Canada for damages resulting from the Sexual Misconduct covered by this settlement and you do not discontinue it before February 24, 2020, you will be automatically be deemed to have Opted Out of the settlement and you will not be able to claim compensation.

Class Members who died before March 15, 2019 are not eligible for compensation under the settlement. Estates of Class Members who died before March 15, 2019 that wish to seek compensation through other legal avenues should seek legal advice promptly regarding their options.

10. Do I have a lawyer in the case?

Yes. The following law firms represent you and other Class Members in the class action.

The lawyers for the Plaintiffs (Class Counsel) are:

Koskie Minsky LLP
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
900–20 Queen Street West
Toronto ON M5H 3R3

Jonathan Ptak

Garth Myers

Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck LLP
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
220 Laurier Ave West Suite 1600
Ottawa ON K1P 5Z9

Andrew Raven

Andrew Astritis

Amanda Montague-Reinholdt

Wagners of Halifax, Nova Scotia
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
1869 Upper Water St, Suite PH 301 3rd Floor, Pontac House Historic Properties
Halifax NS B3J 1S9

Raymond F. Wagner Q.C.

Maddy Carter

Kate Boyle

Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota LLP of Victoria, British Columbia
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
300-376 Harbour Road
Victoria BC V9A 3S1

Rajinder Sahota

Patrick Dudding

Quessy Henry St-Hilaire, avocats of Quebec City, Quebec.
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
1415 Frank-Carrel Street Office 201
Québec QC G1N 4N7

Jean-Daniel Quessy

Simon St-Gelais

11. How will the lawyers be paid?

As part of the settlement, Canada agreed to pay Class Counsel’s legal fees in the amount of $26.56 million CAD, plus reasonable disbursements and applicable tax. The Federal Court determined that the legal fees are fair and reasonable. These amounts will be paid directly by Canada and will not be deducted from any amounts that eligible Class Members may receive.

12. How do I obtain more information?

You can obtain more information about this class action by contacting the Court appointed Claims Administrator:

Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc.
Attention: CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
P.O. Box 507 STN B
Ottawa ON K1P 5P6
Email: info@caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca
Tel: 1-888-626-2611
TTY: 1-877-627-7027
Fax: 1-866-262-0816

You may also seek legal advice from the lawyers for the Class Members concerning the settlement and your claim at any time at no cost to you.