Update on Woodlands School
September 19th 2013
For Immediate Release
Former Residents of Woodlands School Ask Why BC Can’t Follow Ontario’s Example and Do the Right Thing
Former residents of Woodlands School who were at the institution before 1974 are not eligible to apply for compensation for the abuse they suffered there. The BC government says the survivors must be excluded from its 2010 compensation agreement because it was not possible to sue the province before the 1974 implementation of BC’s Crown Proceedings Act. All provinces gradually implemented similar legislation to allow individuals to sue government. The equivalent legislation in Ontario was passed in 1962/63 – the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.
This week, abuse survivors of Ontario’s Huronia Regional Centre won the right to apply for compensation. The $35-million settlement includes an apology from government and a commitment to a timely process. Unlike the former residents of Woodlands, former Huronia residents can apply for compensation regardless of when Ontario’s Proceedings Against the Crown Act came into law. Huronia’s former residents who were there between 1945-2009 will be able to apply.
Bill McArthur, representative plaintiff of the Woodlands survivors is happy for Huronia’s former residents, but asks “if Ontario can open up their compensation to all former residents of Huronia, why can’t BC do the same for those of us who were at Woodlands before 1974?”
“It’s heartbreaking that our province continues to use a legal excuse to avoid including all former Woodlands residents,” said Gregg Schiller, Coordinator of the We Survived Woodlands Group.
Ontario’s action is an example of a government living up to its responsibilities and not shielding itself behind legislation.
“We applaud Ontario for signing on to an agreement that will enable the oldest former Huronia residents to have their abuse recognized,” said Jane Dyson, Executive Director of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. “We’re calling on BC to do the right thing and follow Ontario’s example. All Woodlands survivors deserve justice.”
For more information please contact:
Bill McArthur: (Woodlands Survivor) 778-222-3617
Jane Dyson: (BC Coalition of People with Disabilities) 604-875-0188
Gregg Schiller: (Coordinator of the We Survived Woodlands Group) 604-868-7001