POLITICS

$5 million deal reached in lawsuit over abuse allegations at Halifax orphanage

04/25/2013 04:35 EDT | Updated 06/25/2013 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children has agreed to pay $5 million to former residents of the Halifax orphanage after they launched a class-action lawsuit two years ago over allegations of abuse.

The lawsuit involved about 140 former residents who alleged they were physically, sexually and mentally abused by staff at the home over a 50-year period up until the 1980s.

According to terms of the agreement signed Thursday, the money will be placed in a trust account until a separate class-action lawsuit against the provincial government is resolved.

If that lawsuit is still ongoing a year after the settlement money from the home has been received, the lawyers for the plaintiffs can seek the court's approval of a plan to distribute the funds.

The home has also agreed to co-operate with the plaintiffs as they continue their lawsuit against the government.

The agreement is still subject to approval during a settlement hearing scheduled for June 10 before the province's Supreme Court in Halifax.

In December, Halifax police and the RCMP announced they would not be laying criminal charges in the case after concluding there was not enough evidence to support the allegations.

Premier Darrell Dexter promised in a throne speech last month that his government would set up an independent panel to review the accusations. Details of that review have not yet been released.

The home opened in 1921, but its role has evolved over the years, eventually expanding its services to promote the health and well being of children and families within Nova Scotia's black community.