Proposed class-action lawsuit filed in Sask. over sterilization of Indigenous women
The Saskatoon Health Region, which is named among the defendants in the proposed lawsuit, said it respects the women’s right to pursue legal action.
Published Thursday, October 12, 2017 1:55PM EDT
A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed in Saskatchewan on behalf of Indigenous women who were allegedly forced to undergo sterilization.
A statement of claim against the Saskatchewan government, the province’s health regions, several individual doctors, and Canada’s attorney general was filed in a Saskatoon court on Oct. 5.
Two women are currently listed as plaintiffs in the case, but more women in Saskatchewan could be included if a judge approves the lawsuit.
If certified, the class-action lawsuit would seek $7 million in damages per woman, CTV Saskatoon reported.
“It’s not possible to put out a number that will compensate these women for what they’ve lost, and I’m sure any woman in a like circumstance whose choice has been taken away to make the most fundamentally human-based choice — to have children or not to have children — will understand it’s incredibly difficult to quantify that,” Alisa Lombard, the lawyer who filed the statement, told CTV Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon Health Region, which is named among the defendants in the proposed lawsuit, said in a statement that it respects the women’s right to pursue legal action.
The health region had commissioned an independent report after several women said they were pressured by medical staff and social workers after giving birth in hospital to have a tubal ligation. The procedure involves clamping or severing the Fallopian tubes and prevents women from having any more children.
The Saskatoon Health Region issued an apology to Indigenous women after the report was publicly released in July.
"I'm sorry that you were not treated with the respect, the compassion and all of the support that you needed and deserved," Jackie Mann, a health region vice-president, said at the time.
"No woman should ever be treated the way you were treated."
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Saskatoon