Leduc Class Action

Mayor's Apology

The following apology was read out by the Mayor of Leduc at a Special City Council Meeting on January 23, 2024:
 
On behalf of the City of Leduc I am here to apologize to PCP Firefighter Christa Steele, ACP Firefighter Mindy Smith, and every woman who endured discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault while working for Leduc Fire Services or the City of Leduc. The City of Leduc expresses our deepest regret and apologizes for the misconduct you endured, for the actions of leadership when you came forward, and the harm you suffered.  We are here today to recognize that what happened to you was wrong.

The City recognizes that words alone cannot heal the wounds inflicted upon you and acknowledges the burden the women affected have carried for some time.  But please know that the City of Leduc has learned and will continue to learn from this experience and is committed to ensuring that what you endured does not happen to others. Changes have been made to help ensure the wellbeing of City of Leduc employees and we will continue a journey of ongoing improvement.

It took extraordinary courage for Ms. Steele, Ms. Smith, and the others who shed light on what was happening at the City of Leduc to come forward. It is our sincere hope that this apology is a step in helping you heal from the trauma you experienced at the City of Leduc. We acknowledge that sexual misconduct occurred. And we are truly and deeply sorry. The City of Leduc will do better in upholding the values we stand for.


Frequently Asked Questions

Download our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)


The claims period is now open

Claims can be submitted for consideration from August 4, 2023 to August 4, 2024.

The Claim Form is available here. It is available to print or to fill in electronically and submit. If you believe you are eligible for compensation or other benefits under this settlement, please complete the Claim Form and submit it to leducclassaction@bdplaw.com. To opt-out please use this form

For more information on the Settlement and how to submit a Claim Form, please see the Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval.

If you have any questions relating to this class action including whether you may be a Class Member or how to fill out and submit a Claim Form please contact Class Counsel at:

Robert Martz
Email: rmartz@bdplaw.com

Sydney Black
Email: sblack@bdplaw.com

Alanna Wiercinski
Email: awiercinski@bdplaw.com

Certification and Settlement Approval

On July 4, 2023, Justice Price of the Alberta Court of King's Bench certified the lawsuit as a class action and approved the settlement agreement. The Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval can be found here.


Class Action Settlement

On June 20, 2023, the Plaintiffs and City of Leduc reached a proposed settlement of the class action. The settlement itself and notice of settlement are available on this site.

The settlement is subject to court approval and a hearing will be held on July 4, 2023 in Edmonton for approval.

This is the first settlement of a class action involving sexual misconduct and sexual assault in a fire department or municipality in Canada. The individual compensation in this settlement exceeds that provided by Canada’s most notable workplace harassment class action settlements to date, which involved systemic sexual abuse and harassment within the RCMP and the Department of National Defense.

The terms of this settlement include:

  1. The highest per-person monetary compensation in a Canadian class-action settlement for workplace misconduct. Each member of the class is eligible for financial compensation between $10,000 and $285,000.
  2. A lengthy claimant eligibility time period: any woman who worked at the City of Leduc over the past 20 years is eligible to participate in the class action.
  3. A confidential, non-adversarial, and non-confrontational claims process meant to facilitate claimant participation and provide a safe way for women to come forward.
  4. Significant non-monetary remedies including a public apology from the Mayor of Leduc and a requirement that Leduc take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that no retaliation occurs against women who participate in the class action or who make a claim.

The per-person settlement amounts combined with the non-adversarial claims process, non-monetary remedies, and the lengthy claimant eligibility time period, arguably makes this settlement the most progressive workplace class action settlement in Canadian history. This settlement will have a significant impact on Canadian case law moving forward and sets a precedent for victim advocacy in workplace harassment settlements.

Further information on the confidential process for making claims under this settlement will be posted after the approval hearing on July 4, 2023.


Leduc Class Action

On February 24, 2022, Burnet, Duckworth, and Palmer LLP of Calgary, Alberta, filed a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of all women who have worked at the City of Leduc since 2002. On January 13, 2023 an Amended Amended Statement of Claim was filed. A hearing on whether this matter should be certified as a class action or whether the action should be dismissed as the City of Leduc argues in its Statement of Defence, will be held in Calgary on May 3 and 4, 2023.

The allegations in this lawsuit have not been proven at trial.

A "class action" is a legal method for one or more persons, called "representative plaintiffs," to start a lawsuit on behalf of themselves, and also on behalf of all others who fit into a defined class. Persons who fit into the defined class are automatically included in the class unless they opt out. In this way, a single person or small group of people can begin a class action on behalf of hundreds of people who are similarly affected and have the same legal cause of action. A court must approve the proposed representation and the proposed class of plaintiffs.

In this case, the proposed representative plaintiffs are two women who were firefighters with the City of Leduc.

The lawsuit alleges, among other things:

  • That Leduc failed to prevent systemic sexual misconduct and sexual assault;
  • That Leduc discouraged the reporting of sexual misconduct and sexual assault and retaliated against women that did;
  • That Leduc protected individuals that had committed sexual misconduct and sexual assault; and
  • That this misconduct caused serious harm to women who worked at Leduc.

Among other remedies, the representative plaintiff is asking the Court for an order for damages on behalf of all women who worked at Leduc.

If you were a woman who worked for the City of Leduc and would like more information on this proposed class action lawsuit, we encourage you to look at the documents that have been filed in this lawsuit and which are available through links on this webpage.

For more information, please contact Robert Martz, Sydney Black, or Alanna Wiercinski at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer:

Robert Martz
Email: rmartz@bdplaw.com

Sydney Black
Email: sblack@bdplaw.com

Alanna Wiercinski
Email: awiercinski@bdplaw.com


Updates