Canadian Armed Forces / Forces Armées Canadiennes

Rogers v. The Attorney General of Canada

Nova Scotia Supreme Court File: Hfx No. 457658

Wagners filed a Statement of Claim with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court commencing a proposed class action against the Attorney General of Canada, alleging systemic gender- and sexual-orientation-based discrimination, bullying, harassment and sexual assault of female members within the Canadian Armed Forces.

The claim alleges that the Attorney General of Canada is vicariously liable for this systemic sexual misconduct. The claim further alleges that female members’ Charter-protected rights to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex have been violated. The Canada armed forces class action has been served on the Attorney General of Canada.

In 2015 an external review into sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in the Armed Forces. The review, headed by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Marie Deschamps, revealed a sexualized environment in the Armed Forces, which is conducive to serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault. The external review report concluded that members of the military frequently suffer from degrading expressions, sexual jokes and unwelcome touching.

Reports of inappropriate relationships between members of differing ranks and date rape highlighted the use of sex to enforce power relationships and to punish and ostracize members. The report noted that there is a broadly held perception in the lower ranks that those in the chain of command either condone inappropriate sexual conduct, or are willing to turn a blind-eye to it. The report also concluded that the Armed Forces’ processes to identify, report, investigate and resolve incidents of sexual harassment are too complex to be effective, and do not yield appropriate outcomes. Resulting sanctions are often a mere slap on the wrist, making it unsurprising that most victims choose not to report an incident.

According to Statistics Canada, a survey of 40,000 members of the Armed Forces is currently underway to determine members’ personal experiences with sexual misconduct. The results are due to be published later this year.


Rogers v. Le Procureur Général du Canada

Cour Suprême de la Nouvelle-Écosse Dossier: Hfx No. 457658

La firme d’avocats Wagners a déposé sa demande avec la Cour Suprême de la Nouvelle-Écosse afin commencer une action collective contre le Procureur Général du Canada, alléguant une discrimination systémique fondée sur le genre et l’orientation sexuelle, l’intimidation, le harcèlement et l’agression sexuelle sur les femmes membres des Forces Armées Canadiennes.

La poursuite allègue que le Procureur Général du Canada est, par procuration, responsable de cette inconduite sexuelle systémique. De plus, la poursuite allègue en autres que les droits garantis aux femmes, par la Charte des Droits et Libertés du Canada, de ne pas être victimes de discrimination fondée sur le sexe, ont été violés. L’Action collective contre les Forces Armées Canadiennes a donc été livrée officiellement par huissier au Procureur Général du Canada.

En 2015, une étude externe a été effectuée concernant la discrimination sexuelle ainsi que le harcèlement sexuel. L’étude, conduite par l’ancienne juge à la Cour Suprême du Canada Madame Marie Deschamps, a révélé un environnement généralisé de sexualisation hostile dans les Forces Armées qui est propice à de graves incidents de harcèlement sexuel et de voies de fait. Le rapport de l’étude conclu que les membres militaires sont souvent victimes d’expressions dégradantes, de plaisanteries vulgaires à caractère sexuel, ainsi que de touchers grossiers et indésirables.

Les rapports de relations inappropriées entre les membres de différents rangs ainsi que le “viol par une connaissance” (aussi connu sous le nom commun anglophone de “date rape”) met en évidence l’utilisation de sexe pour faire respecter les relations de pouvoir et pour punir et ostraciser les membres. Le rapport a aussi noté qu’il y a une perception largement répandue dans les rangs inférieurs qui veut que ceux qui sont dans la chaîne de commandement tendent à tolérer les conduites sexuelles inappropriées ou seraient même disposés à fermer les yeux sur celles-ci. Ce même rapport a également conclu que les processus des Forces Armées pour identifier, signaler, enquêter et résoudre les incidents de harcèlement sexuel sont beaucoup trop complexes pour être efficaces et ne donneraient pas les résultats escomptés. Les sanctions qui en découlent sont souvent sans grandes conséquences, comme une simple giffle sur la main, ce qui ne surprend pas le fait que la plupart des victimes choisissent de ne pas signaler un incident et de ne pas porter plainte.

Selon Statistique Canada, un sondage auprès de 40,000 membres des Forces Armées est actuellement en cours afin de déterminer les expériences personnelles des membres en matière d’inconduite sexuelle. Les résultats seront publiés plus tard cette année.

  • Update – July 24, 2017

    Plaintiffs in Four National Class Actions Team Up to Take Canada to Court in Canadian Armed Forces Systemic Sexual Assault and Harassment Class Actions

    TORONTO, July 19, 2017 /CNW/ – Plaintiffs in four separate class actions filed in Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City and Halifax have agreed to work together to take Canada to court seeking policy changes and redress for systemic sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces.

    On March 27, 2015, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Marie Deschamps released a report entitled “External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces”. Justice Deschamps concluded that “there is an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that is hostile to women and LGTBQ members, and conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault” and that “Leaders must acknowledge that sexual misconduct is a real and serious problem for the organization, one that requires their own direct and sustained attention.”

    Following the release of Justice Deschamps’s report, a wave of class actions were filed across Canada seeking change on behalf of those who endured sexual assault, harassment, and gender-based discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces. The lawyers in these class actions will work together to prosecute the cases together. The plaintiffs in class actions are represented by Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck LLP/s.r.l. in Ottawa, Quessy Henry St-Hilaire, avocats in Quebec City, and Wagners – A Serious Injury Law Firm, in Halifax.

    “The Chief of Defense Staff, General Vance, has acknowledged what other Chiefs before him refused to see: that there is a serious sexual harassment and assault problem in the Canadian military. In light of this recognition, it is disheartening that our government is choosing to make us take them to court instead of admitting their mistakes and fully addressing this issue. However, I am glad that, like true brothers and sisters in arms, we have decided to come together under one class action,” said Amy Graham, one of the representative plaintiffs one of the class actions.

    “Joining together to prosecute these class actions is in the best interests of the class members we are representing since it creates a clear path to access the courts,” said Jonathan Ptak, counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP. “The law firms that have joined together to prosecute this class action combine a diverse and complementary array of experience and expertise that will increase our odds of success.”

    The motions for certification, which will decide if the cases can proceed as class actions will be heard in the Federal Court the week of July 9, 2018.

    If you are a current or former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who has experienced sexual harassment or assault, please call 1(888) 502-7455, visit www.kmlaw.ca/militaryassaultclassaction or www.ravenlaw.com/armed-forces-class-action, or email militaryassaultclassaction@kmlaw.ca or armedforcesclassaction@ravenlaw.com.

    Koskie Minsky LLP, based in Toronto, is one of Canada’s foremost class action, pension, trade union, and litigation firms. Its class actions group has been a leader in class actions since 1992 and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in the area. Koskie Minsky LLP was counsel to the survivors of former residents of Huronia Regional Centre and 14 other residential facilities for people with disabilities against the Province of Ontario, wherein the Province agreed to pay survivors over $103.6 million and to provide an apology to former residents for the harm they sustained. Koskie Minsky LLP was also counsel in Cloud v. Canada, the first Indian residential schools class action certified in Canada, which resulted in a $4 billion pan-Canadian settlement.

    Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck LLP/s.r.l., is an Ottawa-based law firm specializing in labour/employment, human rights, and public law, with involvement in class action litigation. RavenLaw has extensive experience in addressing systemic gender-based discrimination. The firm was counsel in the historic $3.2 billion pay equity win for federal public service employees, the $150 million pay equity award against Canada Post at the Supreme Court of Canada, and numerous other pay equity cases, including most recently the $45 million pay equity settlement at Statistical Survey Operations. RavenLaw has been appointed as amicus curiae by the Supreme Court of Canada and has argued leading cases in the area of human rights and constitutional law.

    Wagners, based in Halifax, is a leading class actions firm in Atlantic Canada and has been involved in class action litigation on a local and national basis since 2004. Wagners acts as class counsel representing plaintiffs in a diverse array of provincial and national class actions involving pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, pathology errors, product liability, privacy breaches, institutional abuse and environmental contamination. In the realm of institutional abuse class actions, Wagners successfully represented former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children concerning decades of abuse in a class action that settled for $34 million. Wagners also currently represents former students who suffered sexual, physical, and emotional abuse while attending province-run Schools for the Deaf.

    Quessy Henry St.-Hilaire, avocats, based in Quebec City, serves diverse clientele in many practice areas, including insurance, administrative law and corporate law firm. The cooperation and the complementarity skills of the independent lawyers at Quessy Henry St.-Hilaire, avocats allow clients to benefit from their collective experience.

    SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP

    For further information: Jonathan Ptak, Koskie Minsky LLP, (416) 595-2149, jptak@kmlaw.ca; Andrew Raven, Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne and Yazbeck LLP, (613) 567-2901, araven@ravenlaw.com; Raymond Wagner, Wagners, (902) 425-7330, classaction@wagners.co; Jean-Daniel Quessy, Quessy Henry St-Hilaire, avocats,
    jd@quessyavocats.ca, (418) 682-8924 #224

    RELATED LINKS

    www.kmlaw.ca

  • Update – April 28, 2017

    We encourage our class members to read the following article from NOW magazine concerning sexual misconduct in Canada’s military.

     Sex assault lawsuits seek culture change in Canada’s military

  • Update – December 8, 2016

    In order to assist those persons interested in the Canada Armed Forces class action that Wagners has filed concerning systemic sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination of female members of the Canadian Military, we have produced four informative videos to explain the class action and the processes involved.

    The videos may be viewed on the home page of Wagners’ website, or by visiting Wagners’ YouTube channel at:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkRcEatv9a6wLKfkhp7Dww

  • Update – December 2, 2016

    We have obtained a french copy of the Deschamps Report, “Examen externe sur l’inconduite sexuelle et le harcèlement sexuel dans les Forces armées canadiennes”. Please choose the link below to read the french version. A link to the English version may be found in our news posting of November 24, 2016.

    Examen externe sur l’inconduite sexuelle et le harcèlement sexuel dans les Forces armées canadiennes

  • Update – November 24, 2016

    Since filing the proposed class action lawsuit on Monday, November 21, 2016, we have received numerous enquiries from current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces with questions concerning the Canada armed forces class action.

    For the benefit of the members of Canada’s military whom have registered for the class action with Wagners, and for those who wish to obtain further information or to learn more about the class action, we are providing a link below to the “External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces”, authoured by Marie Deschamps a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as links to various news articles and stories which have been released since the filing of the Canadian armed forces class action.

    External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces

    Chronicle Herald Suit claims bullying, sex assault of Forces women

    CTV News – Suit claims bullying, sex assault of Forces women

    Metro Canada – ‘It has to change:’ Nova Scotia woman leads class action lawsuit claiming bullying, sex assault of military women

    CBC Radio – As It Happens

    CBC Nova Scotia – Women in Canadian military subjected to harassment, discrimination, suit alleges

    The Toronto Star – Class action lawsuit filed against Canadian Armed Forces in Nova Scotia

    CBC Nova Scotia – Woman from Yarmouth leads proposed lawsuit against Canadian military

    If you identify as a female and are either a current or former member of the Canada Armed Forces and you suffered discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying or other harm as a member of the Canadian military, you may wish to complete a registration form to join the class action.

  • Update – November 21, 2016

    On today’s date, Wagners filed a proposed class action with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court regarding allegations of harassment and bullying of female members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

    A filed copy of the Notice of Action and Statement of Claim may be viewed under the Court Documents tab.

The following documents concerning the class action which Wagners has filed as a result of systemic sexual discrimination against females in the Canadian Armed Forces are available for viewing in PDF format:

Wagners represents a number of women who have been subjected to discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying while they were a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

If you, or a member of your family, were or are a female member of Canada’s Armed Forces, you are eligible to be included as a Class Member in our proposed class action lawsuit.

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Wagners représente un nombre de femmes qui ont été victimes de discrimination, de harcèlement sexuel et d’intimidation lorsqu’elles étaient membre des Forces Armées Canadiennes.

Si vous ou un membre de votre famille êtes, ou était, une femme au sein des Forces Armées Canadiennes, vous pourriez être admissible en tant que membre du groupe dans notre poursuite proposée en action collective.

To sign up and determine if you qualify, please fill out this registration form:

Pour vous inscrire et déterminer si vous êtes admissible, veuillez remplir ce formulaire d’inscription:

Do You Have a Claim?

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1-800-465-8794

Sam M
Sam M
16:11 19 Jan 18
Dyana was so kind to help me and respond to my query within 24h even though they do not pursue the specific class action I was looking for. She sent me few links by email. Thank you Dyana.
linda frausell
linda frausell
01:21 16 May 17
I have dealt with Wagner and Associates over the years and have received great advice,support and results . Their team is very respectful and show they care. You can trust them to take care of you and they always have your best interest in hand. I would definetly recommend them .
frank slaunwhite
frank slaunwhite
16:29 03 May 17
Ray Wagner and his legal team have been representing my niece and I for many years. They have been honest and quick to respond to all our needs in a professional manner. I highly recommend Wagners Law Firm and appreciate their caring approach.Thanks
Missy Day
Missy Day
12:03 06 Oct 16
I can't speak highly enough about the lawyers at Wagners who represented me for injuries from not one but two motor vehicle accidents. They were very professional and approachable. I was kept informed of all steps in the process and all of my inquiries were responded to and dealt with very quickly. The lawyers are knowledgeable and showed great empathy for what I was going through. I would recommend this firm to anyone!
Nicholas Gordon
Nicholas Gordon
11:30 06 Oct 16
I contacted Wagners about a motor vehicle accident.I was able to speak with someone right away. The staff were very pleasant and helpful.I received a response about pursuing a case the next day.I would highly recommend this firm.
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