Calgary – Legal – Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, with Ahlstrom Wright Oliver & Cooper (“AWOC”) in Sherwood Park, Alberta, has commenced a class action against the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of individuals affected by the “Sixties Scoop” in Alberta.
The term “Sixties Scoop” refers to the practice in Alberta whereby Aboriginal children were taken (“scooped up”) from their families for placing in foster homes or adoption with non-Aboriginal homes. As a result, it is alleged these “scooped” children lost their identity as Aboriginal persons and suffered mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The plaintiff also claims that she and class members were deprived of their status and other Aboriginal-related benefits, which Canada unjustly retained. Aboriginal communities describe the Sixties Scoop as destructive to their culture.
The claim alleges that by virtue of the Sixties Scoop in Alberta, Canada was negligent and breached fiduciary duties owed to the Aboriginal class members.
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of all “Indian, non-status Indian, and/or Métis” children who were scooped after July 1, 1962 and were placed in the care of non-Aboriginal foster or adoptive parents who did not raise the children in accordance with the Aboriginal person’s customs, traditions, and practices.
It seeks $200 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence and $50 million in punitive damages.
“Families were torn apart and Aboriginal persons were left with life-lasting scars and torment due Canada’s failings in Alberta as a result of the Sixties Scoop, and this case provides a form of redress for these persons to help begin to heal these scars”, says Kirk Baert, co-lead counsel at Koskie Minsky LLP.