Thursday, August 17, 2023
Since our March 30, 2023 Litigation Update, Class Counsel, St. Thomas More, and others have reached an agreement to work towards a resolution and mediation settlement of this matter. As a school community, we see this as a fundamental and necessary first step in this truth, reconciliation, and healing journey. We are hopeful that the process would have run its course by year-end.
STMC has also committed to ensuring that we make every reasonable effort to ensure that Notice of the Class Action is disseminated to students enrolled at any time between 1976-1989 by the following methods:
(a) via any and all alumni portals, websites, or newsletters;
(b) directly to individual former students using any physical address or email address contact information in St. Thomas More Collegiate’s possession, power or control; and
(c) via St. Thomas More Collegiate’s social media accounts.
Formal notice to the members of the Class will begin later this week [Dissemination Plan]. While our email database is updated regularly, we are ultimately dependent on the information that is provided to us by alumni and parents. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure that we have your name and contact information, and, that it is accurate and current.
Again, since served with notice of the Class Action Certification lawsuit in late January 2021, St. Thomas More Collegiate continues to express profound concern and sympathy to anyone who has been impacted in any way by any form of abuse. Moreover, the school recognizes that abuse claims are serious, and should be dealt with carefully, respectfully, and with utmost sensitivity. Crimes of abuse are tragic, horrific, and have lifelong impacts on victims and those that love them. To that end, STMC has committed – and remains committed – to cooperating fully in this legal process and supporting any survivors of the alleged abuse.
Yours in Christ,
Stephen J Garland
President – STMC
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Dear Current STMC Families, Alumni, Staff, Friends of Blessed Edmund Rice, and Followers of Christ,
Following legal advice received late last week, the lawyers appointed on our behalf by the insurers dealing with our current Liptrot et.al. Class Action lawsuit filed Third Party claims against the six former Christian Brothers of Ireland, Canada (CBIC) known as the “Mount Cashel Six”. These are the six individuals who worked at either STM and/or Vancouver College between 1976-2013. As we shared with you in our Litigation Update on March 3, 2023, Justice Coval, whose judgment certified the Class Action lawsuit, extended the timeframe under review at Vancouver College to include the period from 1976-2013. The timeframe for STM goes only to 1989, as this was the last year that one of the ‘Mount Cashel Six” taught at the school.
We believe these now defrocked Brothers – most of whom were eventually found guilty of committing heinous acts of sexual and/or physical abuse against children and youth at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland – need to be held accountable for their actions! But there was also a third party of individuals who were in control of these Brothers, (before and after Mount Cashel and during their time at the STM), who also share responsibility. The challenge in this is that the CBIC, the organization responsible for running the school at the time, is now defunct, having declared bankruptcy years ago.
Ownership of the school and the responsibilities associated with its governance were transferred from the Christian Brothers to STMC Ltd. and the lay staff in the early 2000s after a lengthy legal process and financial settlement that began with the liquidation and dissolution of the CBIC. STMC has never denied that abuses were perpetrated on the survivors at Mount Cashel, nor has it refuted any of the allegations of abuse subsequently made by former STMC students against those among the “Mount Cashel Six” that were assigned to St. Thomas More by the CBIC between 1976-1989. We have not, nor will we, shirk our responsibility. How can we? To do so would only subject alleged victims to further hurt and completely nullify the steps towards reconciliation and healing that we have tried to take with anyone impacted by the actions of these six individuals (the “Mount Cashel Six”).
Since STMC was served with notice of the Class Action Certification lawsuit in late January 2021 we have stated, in no uncertain terms, that St. Thomas More Collegiate expresses profound concern and sympathy to anyone who has been impacted in any way by any form of abuse. Moreover, the school 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 – and remains committed – to cooperating fully in this legal process and supporting any survivors of the alleged abuse.
Yours in Christ,
Stephen J Garland
President – STMC
March 9, 2023
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: