Ottawa, July 19: Canada announced Thursday it had agreed to financially compensate victims of sexual assault who had served in the military or for the defense ministry. A yearlong official survey launched in November 2016 revealed that at least three acts of sexual violence or aggression occurred each day in the Canadian military, often committed by a superior officer.
Nearly 1,000 members of the army said they were victims of undesired sexual contact, rape, harassment or other acts of sexual aggression. The agreement would provide record compensation of up to Can$1 billion ($770 million), according to the CBC. The ministry declined to specify the amount. Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Trial May Not Happen After Accuser Declines to Testify for Fear of ‘Self-Incrimination’.
"We have agreed to a settlement relating to several class action lawsuits regarding sexual misconduct on behalf of current and former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Members," defense minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. Seven former military service members had filed the class action suits against the ministry and the CAF.
The agreement still needs to be approved in federal court at a September settlement hearing in Ottawa. "The proposed settlement sets out financial compensation, the option to participate in a restorative engagement program, and several other measures aimed at addressing sexual misconduct," said deputy defense minister Jody Thomas and military chief General Jonathan Vance in a joint statement.
Ottawa will pay each victim between Can$5,000 to Can$55,000 ($3,800-$42,200) for a total payment between Can$900 million to Can$1 billion. "To all those who have had the courage to come forward as part of these class actions -- and to those who will come forward -- we offer our sincere regrets that you experienced sexual misconduct in our workplace," Thomas and Vance said in their statement.