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Suit against city of Leduc cited for national award

Benchmark Litigation

A class action lawsuit filed in 2022 against the city of Leduc has been given one of five Canadian National Impact Case Awards.

The awards were handed out Wednesday night at a gala in Toronto, hosted by Benchmark Litigation.

Robert Martz, a partner with the Calgary firm Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer, was on hand to collect the award given for his firm's work on the Steele and Smith v city of Leduc case.

"Anecdotally, what we've head is the case attracted a lot of attention and has helped to resolve other issues across the country," Martz told the One in an exclusive interview.  "We certainly heard through the legal grapevine that it attracted a lot of notice."

The city settled the class action last year but women are still coming forward.  Victims have until August of this year to opt-in to the class action.  There's no word on how many women have come forward, nor are there details on the terms of their settlements.  Martz was in court earlier this spring trying to have some of that information released but the court upheld the confidentiality clause in the settlement.

News of the award was applauded by one of the two representative plaintiffs in the case.

"I am proud that we achieved some justice for the women who worked for Leduc and I remain committed to the cause," Christa Steele told the One in a text message.  "I remain disappointed that it took 22 years for the city I proudly represent to take serious the concerns that women brought to them and that many suffered unnecessarily for years before they were listened to."

The award hints at the importance of the case and the potential impact it may have on similar cases in the future.

"I think what it signifies is a recognition across Canada that the Leduc class action was a really important step in making justice available to women who have experienced this type of discrimination and harassment in the workplace," Martz added.

"It's remarkable that this case has garnered nationwide attention and acknowledgement for its profound impact," Steele said.  "I am hopeful that this case will embolden females across Canada to share their truths."


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