CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement
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.
Summary of Your Legal Rights and Options
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.
|Exclude Yourself (Opt Out)|
If you chose to opt out of the class action, you cannot file a claim for money under the settlement agreement or participate in the restorative engagement program. This 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.
The deadline to opt out of the Settlement expired on February 24, 2020.
If you did not opt out of the settlement February 24, 2020, you are automatically included as a class member and are bound by the terms of the settlement.
If you have commenced a legal proceeding against Canada for damages resulting from the Sexual Misconduct covered by this settlement and you did not discontinue it before February 24, 2020, you are automatically 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.
|Submitting a Claim|
The only way to get money from the settlement is to submit a claim form.
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 period to submit a claim is from May 25, 2020 until no later than November 24, 2021.
You can submit a claim online here. It’s fast, easy and secure.
You can alternatively submit a claim by email, fax or mail. Click here to download the Claim Form.