POLITICS
12/19/2018 17:37 EST | Updated 12/19/2018 17:38 EST

Lawsuit Brought Against Alberta On Coerced Sterilization Of Indigenous Women

On behalf of all Indigenous women sterilized in Alberta without their consent before Dec. 14, 2018.

Deb Ironbow, who was coerced into having her fallopian tubes tied in 1995, in Saskatoon, Sask. on Dec. 15, 2018. In addition to the suit against the Alberta government, a proposed class action against Saskatchewan is also underway.
Liam Richards/CP
Deb Ironbow, who was coerced into having her fallopian tubes tied in 1995, in Saskatoon, Sask. on Dec. 15, 2018. In addition to the suit against the Alberta government, a proposed class action against Saskatchewan is also underway.

OTTAWA — 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.

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