Former Nanaimo Indian Hospital part of class action suit

Class action suit filed against Canadian government

The former Nanaimo Indian Hospital has been named in a $1.1-billion class action lawsuit against the Canadian government.

A statement of claim was filed in the Federal Court of Canada on Jan. 25, on behalf of aboriginal people who were patients of 29 government-run Indian hospitals, which the lawsuit alleges were overcrowded, poorly staffed, unsanitary and had widespread physical and sexual abuse like beating with rods and sticks and physical restraint to beds.

Ann Cecile Hardy of Edmonton, the plaintiff, was admitted to the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital with TB in 1969 when she was 10 and the claim says while there, she was repeatedly sexually abused by medical technicians at the hospital and also witnessed other patients being sexually abused.

Indian hospitals were part of a separate health care system for indigenous people, which the claim says were initially limited to those who contracted or were suspected to have tuberculosis, but other illnesses were subsequently treated.