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Almost 19,000 claims submitted in Canadian military sexual misconduct lawsuits

Almost 19,000 claims submitted in Canadian military sexual misconduct lawsuits
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Nearly 19,000 Canadian Armed Forces and Department of Defence personnel have submitted claims in the settlement of class-action lawsuits against the federal government over sexual misconduct in the military.

At Wednesday’s deadline, 18,796 claims had been filed by current and former CAF and DND employees.

Of those 5,055 have already been approved for an initial payment or have been paid.

Approximately 57 per cent of the claimants are female, 42 per cent are male, and one per cent identify as other.

Nearly 33 per cent of all claims were submitted this month alone.

The CAF has been rocked by a sexual misconduct crisis this year, with current and former senior leaders under investigation or facing charges.

The federal government has faced intense criticism for failing to get the problem under control. Newly appointed Defence Minister Anita Anand has said .

The settlement was approved by the Federal Court in 2019 following class-action lawsuits filed against the federal government in 2016 and 2017. Those lawsuits alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination in the Canadian Forces and at the Defence Department.

The settlement provides for compensation up to $155,000, changes to military and veterans affairs policies, and the option for sexual misconduct survivors to participate in restorative engagement, during which they can share their experiences with senior officials.

More than 4,800 claimants requested restorative engagement.

Although it was not part of the settlement agreement, one of the lawyers who brought the lawsuits said the federal government also indicated in court that it would apologize.

“It has been more than two years since that promise has been made and the apology should be provided as soon as possible,” Jonathan Ptak said in an email.

The period within which to submit a claim has now ended, but Ptak said class members can seek a deadline extension based on exceptional personal circumstances.

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