The Ontario government has agreed to settle out of court with patients who suffered physical and sexual abuse at a London facility for children with behavioural, developmental and psychiatric issues.
An agreement signed in February that was made public on Friday details how $10-million will be allocated to youth who were housed at the Children’s Psychiatric Research Institute over a period of almost 50 years.
The institution is still operational in London but the name changed to the Children and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in 1992.
The lawsuit was approved in 2016 and applies only to CPRI’s residential centre, not the modern-day CPRI which operates many mental health programs from its location in west London.
The settlement must still be approved in court. If it is, anyone who was alive as of Feb. 22, 2014, and was an inpatient at CPRI between Sept. 1, 1963 until July 1, 2011 could be eligible.
The law firm Koskie Minsky, which brought the lawsuit forward, has estimated about 5,000 former residents could apply. It is not known how many people opted out of the claim.
Lawyer Jody Brown told CBC News in 2017 that the alleged abuse ranges from beatings of residents by other residents and staff members, to “routine” sexual assaults, typically by other residents.
The settlement says victims who experienced one or more incidents of “Serious Sexual Assault” will receive $30,000.
It says those who were physically assaulted in a way that caused “serious physical injury” or “impairment or disfigurement or broken or fractured bones” and other types of injuries are eligible for $15,000.
A trial was set to begin in this case on Monday but it has been suspended in light of the settlement.
In a statement, law firm Koskie Minsky says it expects a court hearing in the coming months to determine if the settlement is “fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the class members.”