Two Thunder Bay women say they hope a class action lawsuit will help children in foster care.

Holly Papassay and Toni Grann are former crown wards and now claimants in the suit. They allege the province failed to protect the rights of children in its care.

The lawsuit alleges that the province failed to protect their legal rights and that it should have informed them they could be entitled to compensation.

Grann said she's joining the class action suit so the lawyers can draw attention to problems in the system.    

"The compensation ... It's not our prime motive. But it is a way to get it out there and it is the vehicle that they can use to help create change."

Lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff filed the suit in Thunder Bay last week, in partnership with a law firm from Toronto.

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Thunder Bay lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff says it will take a few years for the lawsuit to be certified. (CBC)

'Nobody listened'

Papassay and Grann say they suffered abuse when they were crown wards. Papassay is named as the representative plaintiff in the lawsuit.

"No more children should have to go through what I went through,” she said.

"Nobody listened or did anything when I told my workers what was happening. I was labelled as a liar, a troublemaker, stuff like that."

Grann said her early childhood was also a nightmare.

"I didn't think I was going to be able to live another day."

Zaitzeff said both women were entitled to apply for compensation, but the province never told them.

Grann said she could have used the money for counselling, however both women emphasized at a news conference on Thursday that that's not the main reason for the lawsuit.

"We hope that it will the system change,” Grann said. “You can either sit back and do nothing or you can step forward."

The allegations haven't been proven in court.

Zaitzeff noted it will take a few years for the lawsuit to be certified.