$5M deal between orphanage, ex-residents over abuse allegations gets approval

HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia judge has tentatively approved a $5-million settlement between a Halifax orphanage and former residents of the home who allege they were abused there.

In April, the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children agreed to pay the money to the plaintiffs after they launched a class-action lawsuit two years ago.

The lawsuit involved about 140 former residents who alleged they were physically, sexually and mentally abused by staff at the home over a 50-year period up until the 1980s.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Arthur LeBlanc tentatively approved the deal today, pending approval from the Children’s Aid Society in the Annapolis Valley.

LeBlanc’s decision came as a lawyer for the provincial government, which is also being sued because of the abuse allegations, argued that portions of affidavits filed in support of the lawsuit should be tossed because they contain statements that can’t be proven.

In December, Halifax police and the RCMP announced they would not be laying criminal charges in the case after concluding there was not enough evidence to support the abuse allegations.

Premier Darrell Dexter promised in a throne speech earlier this year that his government would set up an independent panel to review the accusations.

The orphanage opened in 1921, but its role has evolved over the years, eventually expanding its services to promote the health and well-being of children and families within Nova Scotia’s black community.