$2B class-action lawsuit over alleged abuse at Ontario institution set to begin

TORONTO – A Toronto court is to begin hearing a two-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit against the provincial government today.

The suit filed by former residents of an Ontario institution for the developmentally disabled alleges they suffered almost daily humiliation and abuse.

Plaintiffs Marie Slark and Patricia Seth say children whose behaviour earned them a “black mark” were kicked and struck by their peers at staff’s insistence.

Slark, Seth and thousands of other former residents are alleging systemic neglect and abuse at the Orillia, Ont., facility, which the province operated for 133 years.

The suit covers those institutionalized at the centre between 1945 and 2009, many of whom are now aged or dying.

The Ontario government denies the allegations, which have not been proven in court. In its submissions to the court, the province acknowledges there were incidents of abuse, but insists these were isolated and did not stem from neglect.

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