City of Leduc Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit with Former Firefighters in Landmark Case

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The settlement, which was certified on Tuesday, brings relief and gratitude to the plaintiffs, Christa Steele and Mindy Smith, who has fought for justice for two and a half years in the City of Leduc.

City of Leduc Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit
City of Leduc Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit ( Photo: CTV News Edmonton )

The Court of King’s Bench has given its approval to a settlement between the City of Leduc and former firefighters who have accused the municipality’s fire department of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct spanning several years

They believe this victory will have a positive impact on women not just in Alberta but across Canada, empowering them to come forward and push for policy changes in their own departments in the City of Leduc. The settlement agreement, announced on June 21, allows any current or former female employees of the City of Leduc between January 1, 2002, and July 4, 2023, who have experienced discrimination, harassment, or assault, to join the class action. Claimants have 12 months to file their claims, which will be confidential and paper-based. The City of Leduc has stated that individual compensation for most class members will range between $10,000 and $95,000, with the possibility of higher amounts for those who have suffered exceptional harm, up to $285,000.

The total settlement amount remains uncertain, contingent on the number of women who come forward. Lead lawyer Robert Martz expressed his support for the settlement, citing the overwhelming response from other city employees who have filed forms or written letters in support. The settlement received no objections during the court proceedings.

The objective of the lawsuit and settlement is to provide compensation for sexual misconduct and address the claims made by the plaintiffs in the City of Leduc

The terms of the settlement include not only monetary compensation but also an extended eligibility period for claimants, a confidential and non-adversarial claims process, non-monetary remedies, and the requirement for the mayor of the City of Leduc to issue a public apology. The settlement aims to facilitate a restorative engagement process, where women can privately meet with the City of Leduc’s leadership to share their experiences and push for necessary changes in policies, including the implementation of a whistle-blower policy.

The approval of the settlement marks a significant moment for the City of Leduc, prompting reflection on the past, support for the victims, and a commitment to a better future. While the harm caused by the misconduct cannot be undone, the City of Leduc pledges to learn from this experience to prevent such incidents in the future. The costs associated with the settlement will be managed in collaboration with the city’s insurer, ensuring that they do not impact residential or business taxes. The specific details and timeline for implementation, including the mayor of the City of Leduc’s apology, are yet to be determined.

 

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