Illegal strip searches at Rivière-des-Prairies and Bordeaux
This class action seeks indemnity for every person who has had to undergo a strip search when entering the provincial correctional Rivière-des-Prairies and Bordeaux between October 11, 2016, and March 20, 2020, for the purpose of a first video-appearance and who has been released after video-appearance.
The proceeding alleges that these strip searches are illegal, abusive and practised in violation of the rights to integrity and dignity of members of the group.
On February 10, Justice Catherine Piché approved the agreement which had been reached at a settlement conference chaired by Justice Carol Cohen. The settlement agreement provides that the Attorney General of Quebec will pay $7,650,000 to cover the compensation of members, legal fees, administrative fees, and the fees of the representative’s lawyers.
The agreement provides that each claimant will receive a maximum of $2,000 per eligible strip search. If there are insufficient funds to compensate each eligible claimant, the agreement provides that priority will be given to compensating each claimant’s first eligible strip search.
“The settlement achieves the goal of the class action, as it sends a strong message, through the amount imposed and the substantial individual compensation to members of a vulnerable population, to Quebecers and to the government, that the systemic practice alleged is unacceptable. The settlement amount fully addresses these concerns. The Tribunal approves it.” (Judgment of February 10, 2023 approving the settlement agreement, unofficial translation)
The claim period will last 9 months, from June 5, 2023, to March 5, 2024 inclusive. Please see the Notice to class members for details.
Are you eligible?
The group includes anyone:
1) taken to the Rivière-des-Prairies or Montréal (Bordeaux) detention centres for a first video-appearance
2) between October 11, 2016, and March 20, 2020
3) strip-searched at the detention facility prior to the video appearance, and
4) released the same day by the Court, with or without conditions.
This does not include strip searches:
– for which the person was not released the same day (including situations where the conditions were not met the same day).
– conducted by the police.
How to claim?
To make a claim, you must complete the claim form in electronic or paper format. The claim form is available on the claims administrator’s web page at the following link: https://proactio.ca/en/collective-action/fouilles/.
Compensation will be sent out 2 to 3 months after the claim period, which ends on March 5, 2024, since the administrator will need to know the number of eligible claimants to determine the amount to which each will be entitled.
Administrator’s contact details
Proactio (Raymond Chabot): Claims Administrator
Phone number: 438-858-6342
Contact them for more information.