POLITICS
12/23/2013 10:02 EST | Updated 02/22/2014 05:59 EST

Two more settlements reached over alleged abuse at Ontario institutions

TORONTO - Tentative settlements totalling $32.7 million have been reached for former residents of two Ontario institutions for the developmentally disabled who alleged they were abused at the facilities.

The class-action suits were launched by former residents of the Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls, Ont., and the Southwestern Regional Centre near Chatham, Ont. The settlements — which a lawyer for the lawsuits says amount to $20.6 million for Rideau and nearly $12.1 million for Southwestern — must be approved by a judge.

The plaintiffs alleged that physical and mental abuse as well as the unnecessary administration of medication took place at the institutions between 1963 to when the they closed late in the first decade of the 2000s.

The deals come after a judge earlier this month approved a similar $35-million class-action settlement for former residents of the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia, Ont.

Premier Kathleen Wynne formally apologized for the pain and loss that have permanently marked hundreds of former residents of the now-shuttered Huronia facility.

She acknowledged the other two centres in her speech, but did not extend her apology to those who had lived there.

"The tentative settlements reached today are a turning point that I hope will help former residents to heal. I am pleased that we will now be able to present them to the court for its consideration," Attorney General John Gerretsen said in a release.