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Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centre settlement reaches $32.7 million

Tentative settlement reached in deal between the province and victims of abuse at the Southwestern Regional Development Centre. Photo Greg Holden

Southwestern Regional Development Centre. Photo Greg Holden

Settlement agreements approved by the court today will give access to compensation to former residents of the Rideau Regional and Southwestern Regional Centres who suffered harm while living at the facilities between 1963 and 2009.

The combined value of the settlements is $32.7 million. The settlements were approved in Superior Court as the result of class action lawsuits brought against Ontario by former residents. Class members will be able to apply for compensation through an independent claims administrator.

“I am pleased that we have reached a fair settlement with former residents of the Southwestern and Rideau Regional Centres who were harmed there. We cannot change the past, but we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that all Ontarians – regardless of their abilities – are treated with the compassion, dignity and respect they deserve” said John Gerretsen, Ontario Attorney General.

If money is left over after class members have been compensated and legal fees have been paid, Ontario will invest up to $2.7 million in programs that benefit people with a developmental disability. This is in addition to Ontario’s commitment to provide up to $5 million for the same purpose under the Huronia Regional Centre settlement, approved on Dec. 3, 2013.

The Rideau Regional and Southwestern Regional Centres were residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities. Rideau Regional Centre operated in Smiths Falls and Southwestern Regional Centre operated near Chatham. The facilities closed in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

On Dec. 9, 2013, Premier Wynne delivered a formal apology in the legislature to former residents of regional centres for people with developmental disabilities. Today’s settlements also provide for a written apology to come from the Premier to those former residents of Rideau and Southwestern Regional Centres who were harmed.

Rideau Regional Centre closed in 2009 and Southwestern Regional Centre closed in 2008. The closures followed a government decision to close institutions for adults with developmental disabilities and provide residents with community living opportunities with appropriate supports and services.

Former residents of Southwestern Regional Centre and Rideau Regional Centre can receive a copy of their personal resident files at no charge by calling 1-855-376-9886 or by emailing or