Quebec court authorizes class action over alleged sterilization of Indigenous women

Quebec's Superior Court has authorized a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Atikamekw women who say they were sterilized against their will.

Two plaintiffs are leading the suit filed on behalf of all the women from the Atikamekw First Nation who allegedly didn't consent to a procedure that impaired their fertility.

The lawsuit demands unspecified damages from two doctors — identified as R.M and Y.B. — as well as the estate of a third, M.T., who the plaintiffs say violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Quebec's civil code.

The plaintiffs, who are identified by the initials U.T. and M.X., are also putting some of the blame on a local health authority, which is not identified by name.

The authorization dated Aug. 21 states that the two lead plaintiffs say they gave birth five times in hospital and that they were allegedly given tubal ligations without their full consent after their fifth births.

A university study released late last year found there have been at least 22 cases of forced sterilization of First Nations and Inuit women in Quebec since 1980.

The allegations included in the class action have not been proven in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 22, 2023.

The Canadian Press