About

The Purge

Between the 1950s and mid-1990s, LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and the federal public service were systematically discriminated against, harassed and often fired as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice.  In what came to be known as the “LGBT Purge”, people were followed, interrogated, abused and traumatized.

The LGBT Purge was implemented at the highest levels of the Government of Canada and was carried out with callous disregard for the dignity, privacy and humanity of its victims. With its roots in the Cold War, the Canadian Government’s LGBT Purge continued for over forty years.

An estimated 9,000 lives were devastated over those years, and the irreparable psychological trauma continues to this day.  The careers and self-esteem of a generation of young people were destroyed; victims were denied benefits, severance, pensions and opportunities for promotion if they managed to keep their jobs.  This shameful period in Canadian history also resulted in suicide, HIV, fear, depression, PTSD, addiction, disownment, criminalization, rejection, isolation, erasure and many other enduring and painful experiences.

DemoShot

The Settlement

In 2016, survivors of the LGBT Purge launched a nation-wide class action lawsuit against the Canadian government.  The three representative plaintiffs were Todd Ross, Martine Roy and Alida Satalic. These brave Purge survivors lead the class action on behalf of the class members.

A historic settlement was reached in June 2018.  It included a global settlement amount of $145 million.  Up to $110 million has been set aside for the payment of damages to LGBT purge victims.

This settlement also allocates between $15 and $25 million for “reconciliation and memorialization measures”.  These funds are a gift from LGBT Purge victims. Indeed, the funds represent compensation for the suffering of victims of the LGBT Purge Fund who did not live long enough to be eligible to receive individual compensation under the LGBT Purge settlement.

Details of the settlement can be found in three legal documents:

The LGBT Purge Fund

The LGBT Purge Fund is a not-for-profit corporation that was set up to manage a portion of the funds that emerged from the class action settlement. The LGBT Purge Fund is legally required to use these funds for projects that focus on reconciliation and memorialization.

We have a legal mandate to implement four main projects:

  1. Create a national monument to discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people in Canada including the LGBT Purge
  2. Support the development of a museum exhibition by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, based in Winnipeg (Please see the LGBT Purge Fund’s statement regarding allegations of racism & homophobia at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.)
  3. Address the collection, preservation and accessibility of historical records related to the LGBT Purge
  4. Work with the Canadian government to enhance inclusion in the federal public service and to improve existing training on LGBTQ2+ inclusion

You can learn more about these projects on our Projects page.

The LGBT Purge Fund’s audited financial statements can be found here for 2018 and for 2019.

MAC-pink

The Board

There are six Directors of the LGBT Purge Fund, who all serve as volunteers. Martine Roy (Chair), Todd Ross, Diane Pitre, Wayne Davis and Linda Goguen-Manning are survivors of the LGBT Purge. Douglas Elliott was the lead lawyer on the class action lawsuit.  Michelle Douglas is the Executive Director of the LGBT Purge Fund and also a LGBT Purge survivor.

Michelle Douglas

Executive Director – Michelle served as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1986 to 1989. She was honourably discharged from the military in 1989 under the military’s “LGBT purge”. She launched a landmark legal challenge against the military’s discriminatory policies against LGBT service members that resulted in the ending of Canada’s discriminatory policies in 1992. Her experience in the military was the start of 30 years of social justice and human rights activism.

Professionally, Michelle served as the Director of International Relations at the Canadian Department of Justice and retired in September 2019. Over the course of her 30-year career as a public servant, Michelle represented Canada at international meetings of the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States and the G7, and has traveled extensively in providing policy support to the Minister of Justice of Canada.

Michelle also maintains an active life as a volunteer. For more than a decade,  Michelle served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of WE Charity (formerly Free the Children). She served in this role until March 2020.

Michelle has also served on a number of boards of directors, including as chair of the board of directors of The 519 Community Centre and the Foundation for Equal Families. She has also been involved in supporting LGBT refugees. Michelle is also a member of the board of directors of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

Michelle holds a degree from Carleton University in Ottawa. Michelle was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Michelle resides in Ottawa.

Martine Roy - Chair of the Board of Directors

Martine Roy is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the LGBT Purge Fund.

Martine worked for 20 years at IBM, where she held positions as the Critical Resolution Coordinator and Account Manager. At IBM, she established resource groups to support LGBT employees and she was also deeply involved in raising staff and management awareness of LGBT issues. Martine was passionate about promoting an inclusive workplace.

Martine now serves as the Regional Director, Business Development LGBTQ2 + Quebec & Eastern Canada for TD Bank. Once again, Martine has taken up this new role with passion. A deeply committed activist for the rights of LGBT people, she also has a heart for her work and for business.

Martine was dismissed from the Canadian Armed Forces for her homosexuality at the age of 19. She is a survivor of the “LGBT Purge”. Martine was instrumental in bringing a class action lawsuit against eta Canadian government that ended in a federal apology from the prime minister in 2017.

Martine sat on Pride at Work Canada’s Board of Directors for 10 years. Pride at Work, a Toronto-based organization, was co-founded by Martine and seven other people. She also served as the Chair of Fondation Émergence until 2015.

Over the years, a leader in fighting for inclusion in the workplace, Martine has received numerous awards and honours. In 2017, she was awarded the Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec.

Todd Ross

Todd Ross is one of the representative plaintiffs of the LGBT Purge Class Action lawsuit. He volunteered to join the Canadian Armed Forces in December of 1987, at the age of 18, and served on the HMCS Saskatchewan as a Naval Combat Information Operator in Esquimalt British Columbia. While serving, Todd was brought under investigation by the Special Investigation Unit of the Military Police beginning in January of 1989. After an extensive investigation, he admitted to the investigators that he was gay and was offered an honourable discharge. He was released in May of 1990.

Todd is a Public Affairs Consultant and has served as an Advisor to Ontario’s Deputy Premier and the President of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

He has volunteered on many boards with a focus on Indigenous, health, and human rights issues. He is a founding member of the Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit organization created to help LGBT people around the globe seek safe haven from state-enabled violence, murder or persecution.

Todd is Métis and lives in St Andrews, New Brunswick with his partner Kirk.

Diane Pitre

Diane Pitre grew up in Campbellton, a small coastal town in northern New Brunswick, known as the gateway to the Maritime Provinces. She joined the military on November 9, 1977 at the age of 18 after graduating from high school. After completing basic training at CFB St Jean, she was posted to CFB Chatham, NB in February of 1978 for training as an Air Frame Technician. On April 1, 1978, she was posted to CFB Borden, Ontario to complete her Air Frame technician training and returned to CFB Chatham in August 1978. She was re-trained as a Supply Technician in late 1978 after losing her security clearance on then suspicion of being a homosexual. On September 24, 1980, she was purged from the Armed Forces after a lengthy 2-year investigation under the CFAO 19-20 “Sexual Deviation – Investigation, Medical Investigation and Disposal for being a homosexual”. She was told that she was a threat to her country because of her sexuality.

Diane has spent close to 40 years lobbying the government for an apology for her wrongful dismissal, which was received on November 28, 2017 from Prime Minister Trudeau. Although that chapter is closed, Diane continues to work as an activist so that history does not repeat itself! She has launched a Facebook page for LGBT Purge survivors and provides support to many LGBT veterans.

Diane is retired from Canada Post Corporation after a 30-year career as a Library Technician; International Claims Officer and Relocation Officer. She is a proud member of the RMMP panel and looks forward to this next chapter of her life.

Diane resides in Embrun, Ontario.

Wayne Davis

Wayne Davis was born and raised in Drumheller, Alberta and joined the RCMP in 1967. He served eight years as a community police officer in Duncan and Sidney, British Columbia before transitioning into the Administration field. He spent another ten years in progressively higher- ranking managerial roles in Finance and Administration in Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto and during his service received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC. Wayne attained the rank of Staff-Sergeant and after a successful and exemplary 18-year career he was discovered to be gay and in 1986 was forced out the RCMP as part of the “LGBT purge”

The same year he left the RCMP Wayne took on a career in the Public Service of Canada serving in various departments in managerial positions in Human Resources, Finance and Administration until he retired in 2004. He then enjoyed a third career spending 10 years as the Director of Administration for the University of British Columbia Department of Surgery and in 2015 retired for good.

In his retirement Wayne dedicates is time to volunteering for organizations that support social issues around the LGBTQ2S+ and Seniors Communities and working with individuals challenged by Mental Health issues. He is honoured to serve as a Director of the newly established LGBT Purge fund that was established as part of the LGBT Purge Class Action lawsuit settlement.

Douglas Elliott

R. Douglas Elliott is a partner in Cambridge LLP and Lead Counsel for the Class Action. He received his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1979, his LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1982, and was called to the Bar in 1984. The Law Society certified him as a Specialist in Civil Litigation in 2003, and awarded him the Law Society Medal in 2010. Doug is a recognized expert on LGBT rights, constitutional law, and class actions and he was the lead author on the Just Society Report.

Doug won the Hislop v Canada class action, which is the largest LGBT class action concerning LGBT rights, to date. Mr. Elliott is well known for his work on landmark constitutional cases such as same sex marriage, and is also a leader in the field of class actions. Mr. Elliott won the largest Canadian class action trial judgement valued at $50 million in an action brought by a group of gay and lesbian Canadians seeking CPP survivor’s pensions against the federal government in Hislop v Canada. He played a key role in the national hepatitis C team that secured a $1.5 billion settlement from the federal and provincial governments in Parsons v Canada, one of the largest settlements in Canadian class action history.

In addition to numerous awards for his social justice work, Mr. Elliott has been recognized as a leading expert on public law, both class actions and Charter litigation, and as one of the Best Class Action Lawyers in Canada by The Best Lawyers in Canada. He is also listed in Canadian Who’s Who, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Doug and his husband Greg live in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

Linda Goguen-Manning

Linda grew up in a large family of 11 children in Neuville, Québec. She joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on October 12, 1982 at the age of 18. After completing her basic training in CFB Saint Jean and language school in CFB Borden, she was posted to CFS Shelburne in May 1983. It is while posted at CFS Shelburne that she was followed, searched and interrogated from being perceived as LGBT. Linda did not lose her career in the CAF but she successfully changed her occupation to be an Administrative Clerk in 1984. She was then posted to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa and finished her career in 1996, at CFB Halifax where she took the Force Reduction Program (FRP). Linda has 4 other brothers who also served in the CAF.

Linda returned to university and completed her Bachelor of Arts and she is currently completing her Master’s Degree. She recently retired from Veterans Affairs Canada where she received the VAC Deputy Minister’s coin for excellence.

Linda enjoys travelling and baking. She and her husband of 32 years, Anthony, have two children, Jonathan who is an architect in Montréal and Justin who is an electronic technician with National Defence in Halifax.

As a person with disabilities, a retired member of the CAF who has experienced purge-related events as well as her oldest son being a gay man, Linda is a strong ally for the LGBT communities and the LGBT Purge.