A lawsuit has been filed and is seeking class action status against the government alleging physical and sexual abuse of students at boarding schools for the deaf across Canada between 1955 and 1996. The lawsuit was filed in federal court and claims students who attended boarding school for the deaf were slapped, caned, choked, and hit with objects while others were sexually abused. It alleges repeated abuse on the part of teachers, house parents, and fellow students over four decades. The claim alleges that the government breached its duties both to care for the children and to provide them with an appropriate education.
If certified as a class action, the suit will represent more than 61,000 deaf students who went through 12 different schools in eight provinces during the time in question. Specifically, the Alberta School for the Deaf has been named by plaintiffs for causing abuse and harm. The school was funded and operated by the Alberta Government until the fall of 1995, when it was taken over by Edmonton Public Schools. The school's current administration is not named in the lawsuit.