A Thunder Bay law firm has teamed up with a law office in Toronto to launch a class-action suit against the province.

The suit claims the province failed to live up to its responsibilities to the children in its care.


Sandy Zaitzeff of the law firm Watkins Law estimates 50,000 to 150,000 claimants could join the suit. (CBC)

Sandy Zaitzeff, of the Thunder Bay firm Watkins Law, is co-lead counsel on the case. Former Crown ward Holly Papassay of Thunder Bay is the representative claimant.

"The lawsuit is about documented cases of abuse, sexual assault, criminal acts — documented, investigated often by the police, charges being laid against the perpetrator," said Zaitzeff.

"And then, the children not — and the key word is 'not' — being informed of their legal right to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board," a provincial tribunal responsible for assessing claims by victims of violent crime.

Zaitzeff says his firm has already been contacted by 25 to 30 potential claimants.

He expects anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 former or current Crown wards could sign up.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The ministry of the attorney-general has not commented on the claim as yet.