Health Canada

Health Canada

June 08, 2007 21:37 ET

Health Canada: Courts Approve the Pre-1986/post-1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 8, 2007) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, welcomes today's court decisions that give approval to the Settlement Agreement for all those infected with hepatitis C from the blood system prior to January 1, 1986, and from July 1, 1990, to September 28, 1998. Canada's New Government has set aside approximately one billion dollars to compensate those infected during the July 1, 1990, to September 28, 1998 time frame.

The compensation fund will be administered by Crawford Class Actions Services, an independent third party at arm's length from the federal government that was selected by the courts. Crawford will provide reports on its activities to the federal government, class counsel and the courts. The Government of Canada does not have control over the timing of the remaining steps.

Class members should contact their class counsel for details of the agreement and the next steps in applying for compensation.

"Canada's New Government is extremely pleased by today's unanimous approval of the settlement agreement by the courts in four jurisdictions, confirming that the settlement agreement is fair and reasonable," Minister Clement said. "While no amount of money can fully compensate these victims for their pain and suffering, Canada's New Government has never wavered in its commitment to compensate all victims of tainted blood, no matter the date of infection."

"We know that people have waited long enough for a resolution to this matter. We trust that the fund administrator will move towards issuing the cheques in the near future," Minister Clement added.

In 1998, federal, territorial and provincial governments provided compensation to those infected with hepatitis C through the blood system between January 1, 1986, and July 1, 1990. Canada's New Government worked to reach a settlement agreement with class counsel that would provide compensation to those Canadians who were excluded from the previous compensation program. In taking these actions, the government was guided by the recommendations of the Krever Inquiry.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced July 25, 2006, that the federal government had successfully reached an agreement on the elements of a settlement. Since that announcement, Canada's New Government worked as quickly as possible to complete the detailed final agreement, which was sent to the courts for approval in December 2006.

The Agreement, which is without admission of legal liability on the part of the federal government, was completed with class counsel on December 15, 2006, and was subject to court approval in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The infrastructure required to receive and evaluate applications must now be set up.

The terms of the agreement govern the provision of compensation to those infected through Canada's blood supply prior to January 1, 1986, and from July 1, 1990 to September 28, 1998. It expands on the details already provided by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on July 25, 2006, and includes the benefit schedules that will be used to determine amounts that each individual will receive.

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