Proposed Class Action Lawsuit
In February 2021, a proposed class action was commenced against St. Thomas More Collegiate, Vancouver College Ltd., The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s, and The Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese.
The action alleges abuse (physical and/or sexual) by former Christian Brothers of Ireland faculty in the period 1976 to 2013 at St. Thomas More Collegiate and Vancouver College.
As set out in St. Thomas More Collegiate’s written argument submitted to the Court at the certification hearing, STMC fully supports the investigation and resolution of any claims of abuse. Physical or sexual abuse is tragic and the abuse of school-aged individuals is particularly reprehensible. At this stage, this is a strictly a dispute about whether the Plaintiff’s application for certification meets the requirements set out in the Class Proceedings Act.
All claims of alleged abuse must be investigated and resolved.
January 31, 2022:
St. Thomas More Collegiate and the other defendants filed initial responses to the underlying civil action, and to the plaintiff’s application for certification of the case as a class action.
The class action certification hearing was held from August 8th -16th and is now adjourned until November.
October 20, 2022
On October 20th, the parties returned to court. Justice Coval struck portions of certain paragraphs of the Amended Notice of Civil Claim on the basis that they are unnecessary and prejudicial. The Court dismissed the defendants’ application with respect to the admissibility of certain documents.
November 19, 2022
The British Columbia Supreme Court has heard the submissions of the parties responding to the certification application, including those of St. Thomas More Collegiate Ltd., and has reserved its judgment. STMC takes this matter very seriously and fully supports the investigation and resolution of any claims of abuse. We will respectfully await the Court’s decision on the question of whether a class proceeding is the preferable procedure for the claims made.
March 8, 2023
UPDATE: BC’s Supreme Court certified a class action lawsuit for historical abuses alleged to have occurred at STMC from 1976 into the 1980’s. The lawsuit alleges that STMC failed to protect students at that point in time from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by members of the Christian Brothers of Ireland who had been transferred to the school from the Mt Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland.
The certification of the class action lawsuit means that individuals who suffered abuse at the hands of these Christian Brothers from 1976 up to and including 1989 can now join together in pursuing legal action against the school. This is a significant development for survivors of abuse.
While the Plaintiff sought to certify the claim against STMC up to 2013, the court found that there was no factual basis in relation to alleged abuse beyond 1989. The Christian Brothers transferred to the school from Newfoundland had left STMC by 1989.
Presently, no Christian Brother teaches at STMC. The Class Action lawsuit does not make any allegations against non-Christian Brother teachers at STMC.
Our profound concern and ongoing commitment
St. Thomas More Collegiate expresses profound concern and sympathy to anyone who has been impacted in any way by any form of abuse. STMC recognizes that abuse claims are serious, and should be dealt with carefully, respectfully and in a sensitive manner. Crimes of abuse are tragic, horrific and have lifelong impacts on victims. To that end, STMC has committed to cooperating fully in this legal process and supporting any survivors of the alleged abuse.
Student safety and well-being is of paramount importance. STMC strives to foster a learning and faith community built on trust and respect, where every student can optimize their potential, serve others and create a just and caring world.
STMC takes any allegations of abuse seriously, and currently has strict policies in place including a harassment policy, student discipline policy, and student supervision policy. We take this responsibility, and the trust that is placed in us, very seriously. We have a comprehensive set of policies, protocols, screening processes and procedures in place to make our school a safe environment for students, faculty, and the entire STMC community. These policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are protecting students in the most effective way possible. We invite you to review our policies here: https://stthomasmorecollegiate.ca/about/policies-and-procedures/.
We remain committed to do all that we can to best support our community and anyone affected, and take this matter very seriously. For enquiries, please email email@example.com.
For more information on reporting a crime or accessing victim services, please find the Government of BC resources below: