Proposed Class Action Lawsuit
As communicated in February 2021, a proposed class action was commenced against St. Thomas More Collegiate, Vancouver College Ltd., The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s and The Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese.
The action alleges abuse (physical and/or sexual) by former Christian Brothers faculty in the period 1976 to 2013 at Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate. (see Feb. 8 2021 School Communications)
As set out in Vancouver College’s written argument submitted to the Court at the certification hearing, Vancouver College fully supports the investigation and resolution of any claims of abuse. Physical or sexual abuse is tragic and the abuse of school-aged individuals is particularly reprehensible.
At this stage, this is a strictly a dispute about whether the Plaintiff’s application for certification meets the requirements set out in the Class Proceedings Act. Vancouver College is opposed to certification of the Plaintiff’s action as a class proceeding and takes the position that it is not the preferable procedure for advancing claims of abuse.
The key issues are individual and dependent on factual findings that cannot be made on a class-wide basis. The proposed common issues trial will result in determinations that will be entirely irrelevant to some or all claims. More significantly, the proposed common issues trial will not address, and will only delay, the determination of issues that are predominant for all the claimants.
In summary, the complexity, variety and number of findings required for a determination of the proposed common issues over 37 years must give way to the acknowledgement that each set of circumstances is so individual that a class proceeding is not the preferable procedure.
All claims of alleged abuse must be investigated and resolved. Those with claims may proceed individually, or by way of joinder with similarly situated plaintiffs. These are the processes that will permit the parties to deal with the predominant issues in a flexible and efficient way without the disadvantages of class certification.
January 31, 2022:
Vancouver College and the other defendants filed its initial responses to the underlying civil action and to the plaintiff’s application for certification of the case as a class action.
The class action certification hearing was held from August 8th -16th and is now adjourned until November. Vancouver College will post a further update once the decision is known and next steps have been determined.
Our profound concern and ongoing commitment
Crimes of abuse are tragic and horrific and have lifelong impacts on victims. Vancouver College expresses profound concern and sympathy to anyone who has been impacted in any way by any abuse.
The safety and wellbeing of our students is our number one priority. We take this responsibility, and the trust that is placed in us, very seriously. We have a comprehensive set of policies, protocols, screening processes and procedures in place to make our school a safe environment for students, faculty, and the entire Vancouver College community. These policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are protecting students in the most effective way possible.
For more information on reporting a crime please find the Government of BC resources below: