Government of Yukon

October 30, 2017

Statement from Minister of Justice Tracy McPhee regarding historic sexual assault cases

“Our government has been asked to clarify the use of non-disclosure clauses in respect to historic sexual assault cases and settlements.

“To the best of our knowledge, the lawyers representing the Government of Yukon have never insisted on non-disclosure clauses that would prevent a victim from disclosing their personal circumstances, including any details about any abuse they suffered. Our focus has always been on ensuring that the actual settlement negotiations and settlement details remain confidential. This is not to deter victims from coming forward but to encourage settlement by allowing for detailed discussions about the merits of each case by all parties. We believe that coming to a settlement is always a better alternative for those involved but in particular for the victim.

“We have also been asked to share information about the settlements reached in these cases.

“Since 2000 approximately forty sexual assault cases were initiated against the Government of Yukon and a variety of other parties including the Government of Canada. Some cases have been dismissed or discontinued, and most have been settled.

“Since 2000 approximately $2.5 million dollars has been spent on those claims. Settlements are tailored to the individual circumstances of each case, therefore not all settlement amounts are the same. The sum paid out would include the Government of Yukon’s payments, money paid by government insurers, and payment of plaintiff’s legal costs in some cases.

“The Government of Yukon does not disclose the personal information of plaintiffs to anyone and will not disclose details of settlement which could identify individuals.

“As the Minister of Justice, I believe that if someone has been harmed and wishes to come forward they should be met with compassion and support.

“Our government encourages victims to seek healing and justice. Our Victim Services branch is available to help and support all individuals who may be seeking a path forward by legal process or other means.”

News Release #17-230