Students launch class-action lawsuit over Quebec strike
The Canadian Press
Posted: Aug 30, 2012 4:15 PM ET
Last Updated: Aug 30, 2012 3:43 PM ET
A class-action lawsuit is being organized by young Quebecers frustrated because they say they were hurt by the province's student strikes.
The undertaking to sue 25 universities and CEGEP colleges, as well as the Quebec government, was announced Thursday by students and their lawyers.
The plaintiffs say not enough was done to let them have access to their classrooms to complete their courses.
One says she will get her nursing diploma six months late, which will cost her financially.
"I incurred losses and I'm just asking for a reimbursement," said the nursing student, Kim Laganière. "This will delay my entry into the job market by six to 12 months."
The group's lawyer is not setting a figure on the amount requested, saying the financial impact varies from one person to the next.
The damage includes loss of salary, lost work experience, lost tuition fees and lost summer jobs, according to lawyer Michel Savonitto.
"These amounts aren't necessarily very big in some cases, but if you add them up it becomes astronomical.… A court will evaluate the amount of the damages at the appropriate moment."
Right to strike at issue
The case may wind up determining whether the right to strike, as laid out in the provincial labour code, applies to students. Savonitto said he will argue that there must be some distinction made between the rights of workers and those of students.
More than 150,000 students were on strike at the peak of the Quebec student crisis last spring, representing one-third of the pupils at the province's universities and CEGEPs. Some other students who didn't support the strike tried to bring injunctions to force post-secondary schools to keep teaching.
The Quebec government finally suspended the winter term at many schools on May 18. Hundreds of courses had effectively shut down at that point, some since as early as February, because of the student boycott, campus pickets and professors' unwillingness to teach, either in solidarity with students or in the face of the workplace disruptions.
The Charest government's Bill 78, now known as Law 12, was designed to force classrooms to be reopened and, in most cases, classes are indeed carrying on. But students in a minority of university faculties are continuing to strike, and the law is being ignored in some cases.
There were incidents earlier this week at the University of Montreal, where riot police moved in on protesters who had locked themselves inside a building.With files from CBC News
Latest Montreal News Headlines
- PQ wants to force federally regulated firms to abide by French language charter
- The Parti Québécois government says it plans to compel federally regulated companies to comply with Quebec's French Language Charter, by withholding public contracts from those that don't. more »
- Former premier among growing list of politicians offered cash in Laval
- Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête reports former PQ Premier Bernard Landry turned down a cash-stuffed envelope from a would-be donor in Laval in 1976. more »
- Patrick Roy named head coach of Avalanche
- The Colorado Avalanche made it official Thursday, naming Patrick Roy their new head coach and vice president of hockey operations. more »
- SNC-Lavalin letter says Gadhafi son offered VP post: RCMP
- SNC-Lavalin's ties to Libya's former dictatorship ran so deep the company offered the son of Moammar Gadhafi a six-figure job as a vice president in 2008, according to a newly unsealed RCMP affidavit. more »
Top News Headlines
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford fires chief of staff
- A week after bombshell allegations that Toronto Mayor Rob ford was videotaped smoking crack, the mayor's chief of staff was fired and Ford is continuing to stonewall reporters. more »
- Federal Court won't remove MPs over robocall allegations
- The Federal Court says it won't throw six MPs out of their seats over allegations of widespread vote suppression through automated robocalls in the 2011 federal election. more »
- Alleged Ford crack video seller not responding to calls
- The journalist who broke the story alleging Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was recorded on video smoking crack cocaine says he may never be able to get his hands on the evidence. more »
- Bridge collapse on Washington interstate drops cars into water
- The Washington State Patrol says the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon has collapsed, dumping vehicles and people into the water. more »
- Montreal boil-water advisory to end no earlier than 10 p.m.
- 1.3 million Montrealers face boil water advisory
- Woman injured after falling on Montreal metro tracks
- Supreme Court refuses to hear Lise Thibault's appeal
- 23-year-old woman dies while surfing near LaSalle
- RCMP moving to freeze assets in widening SNC-Lavalin probe
- Taking a look at graffiti tagging hotspots in Montreal
- PQ polling woes continue
- Anti-corruption raids at borough offices in CDN-NDG