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Judge OK’s $1B hepatitis deal

JAMIE KOMARNICKI
Jun 09, 2007
CALGARY HERALD

An Alberta judge approved Friday a $1-billion federal compensation deal for the so-called forgotten victims of the hepatitis C tainted blood scandal.

The deal includes almost 6,000 people infected with the disease from tainted blood before J= an. 1, 1986 and after July 1, 1990, who were left out of an earlier federal settlement.

The settlement is conditional on courts in Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario signing on.

After the lengthy battle, it’s a relief to have approval in Alberta finally in place, said Calgary class action counsel Vaughn Marshall.

“To have excluded these people on the dates they were infected was an arbitrary discrimination against them for all intents and purposes,” said Marshall. “(The government) certainly saw the inequity there, and it’s to their credit it is resolved.”

The victims in question were left out of a $1.18-billion deal announced in 1998 by Jean Chretien’s Liberal government that limited payments only to those infected with blood-borne diseases between 1986 and 1990.

They sued the government, and, after years of court proceedings and long negotiations, a $1-billion settlement was reached in December, pending court approval.

Now that Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Justice Vital Oullett= e approved the settlement Friday, the province’s victims can begin the process of collecting compensation, Marshall said.

“I’m g= lad it’s happening. I just wish the process would be a little quicker f= or many people,” said Calgarian Brenda Assailly, who is hoping for at least $100,000 after= she contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion while giving birth to = her third child.

The agreement is designed so people who are the most sick and have suffered the most from = the disease receive the highest compensation.

One of the advanta= ges over the previous settlement is that payment will be made in an upfront l= ump sum.

Individuals have to apply for the compensation, and ads of the process will be carried out in coming days.

Calgary Herald

 

 

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