- Today, the federal government, the Department of National Defence, and the Canadian Armed Forces will issue a formal apology to victims of military sexual misconduct.
The federal government, the Department of National Defence, and the Canadian Armed Forces will formally apologize to victims of military sexual misconduct today.
The apology was first promised in 2019 as part of a $600 million settlement agreement with current and former service members in several class-action lawsuits.
The apology will be delivered in three parts, with Defence Minister Anita Anand speaking on the government’s behalf.
General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, will apologize on behalf of the military, while Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence, will do the same for the department.
Officials had previously stated that they hoped for an in-person event. Still, the Defense Department has announced that today’s apology will be delivered virtually and streamed live online due to COVID-19.
The apology comes as the Liberal government and military leadership grapple with a rash of sexual misconduct allegations involving senior officers.
The Royal Canadian Legion and others had urged the government to deliver the apology before the 18-month window for victims to submit claims as part of the settlement closed last month.
Nearly 19,000 claims were submitted before the claims period ended on November 24. However, according to Jonathan Ptak, a lawyer representing victims in some of the six overlapping lawsuits, victims can still submit applications.
“While the filing deadline was November 24, the settlement administrator has the discretion to extend this deadline by 60 days (until January 23, 2022) due to exceptional circumstances or a claimant’s disability,” Ptak wrote in an email.
“Many late claims have been accepted for consideration to date.”
Over 5,300 claims have already been approved for payment, and nearly 4,900 people have requested to participate in “restorative engagement.”
Source: CTV News
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