Largest LGBTQ Settlement Ever Proposed Secured by John McKiggan and LGBT Purge Legal Team
A landmark settlement in a case to compensate LGBTQ members of Canada’s military, RCMP and civil service who were investigated and/or discharged due to their sexual orientation was recently approved by Federal Court Justice Martine St-Louis on June 18, 2018.
The terms of settlement, first proposed in November 2017, finally puts a decades-long battle between LGBTQ-identifying members of the Canadian military and oppressive policy to rest, as well as opens the door to forgiveness and equality to all current and former service members.
The lead representative plaintiff from Nova Scotia, Alida Satalic, of Dartmouth was represented by McKiggan Hebert founder John McKiggan. According to John, the settlement—anywhere between $85 million and $145 million in compensation—is the largest LGBTQ settlement anywhere else in the world.
The final settlement allows eligible individuals who were harrassed, sanctioned, fired or discharged from federal employment between 1955 and 1996 due to suspected or confirmed sexual orientation to receive between $5,000 and $175,000, depending on the severity of their case.
McKiggan explained that the final amount will be determined by how many class members come forward to pursue a claim. The settlement also includes funding of $15 million for education and reconciliation. These include a national monument and a museum exhibition in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, as well as the declassification of archival records.
In addition, legislation has been introduced to allow people to apply for the erasure of previous criminal convictions incurred from consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners.
Satalic was dismissed from her post as a Canadian Forces postal clerk in 1989 after being investigated and interrogated by the military’s special investigations unit, where she admitted to being a lesbian.
This resulted in her being denied the top-secret clearance necessary for advancement in her post, as well as access to all future training sessions. She chose to be discharged in 1989 instead of being continuously put down and held back by the oppressive and invasive policies.
While Satalic eventually rejoined the military after the ban on homosexuality was officially lifted in 1994, the experience left her feeling discriminated against unfairly. As many as 100 gay veterans recounted similar stories—some tearfully—of how their lives and careers ground to a halt due to their identities between 1955 and 1996.
“Different people were speaking about how they were persecuted in the military,” she said. “I got teary-eyed so many times. You know, a lot of the stuff people are talking about I can relate to. The same thing happened to so many of us.”
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