Amnesty International Canada says the federal government needs to appoint a special representative to hear from Indigenous women coerced into being sterilized. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

$500 million lawsuit proposed on coerced sterilization in Alberta

The claim alleges Alberta — including senior officials and ministers— had specific knowledge of widespread coerced sterilizations perpetrated on Indigenous women.

A proposed class action has been filed against the government of Alberta on behalf of Indigenous women who say they were subjected to forced sterilizations.

The lawsuit seeks $500 million in damages, plus an additional $50 million in punitive damages, and has been brought on behalf of all Indigenous women sterilized in Alberta without their prior and informed consent before Dec. 14 this year.

The claim alleges Alberta — including senior officials and ministers— had specific knowledge of widespread coerced sterilizations perpetrated on Indigenous women.

It also alleges the government turned a blind eye to that conduct and breached its fiduciary responsibilities.

Celeste Poltak, a lawyer with the Toronto-based firm Koskie Minsky LLP, says the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women is “yet another dark chapter” in the relationship between governments and Indigenous Peoples.

A proposed class action is also underway in Saskatchewan that names the Saskatoon Health Authority, the Saskatchewan government, the federal government and a handful of medical professionals as defendants.

Read more: Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

Read more: Feds reject push to amend Criminal Code to outlaw forced sterilization

The Canadian Press

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