Mr. Speaker, on November 22, 2004, the Minister of Health announced the government’s intention to enter into discussions about options to provide compensation to those infected pre-1986 and post-1990. The government entered into discussions because it was the right and responsible thing to do.
The government voted in favour of the motion before the House of Commons concerning hepatitis C compensation for those infected pre-1986/post-1990, because the principle of the motion supported the actions we have taken and allowed us to reaffirm our commitment of November 22, 2004.
Discussions with legal counsel representing those infected began immediately after the Minister of Health’s November announcement, and are ongoing. The parties have held a number of discussions in the months before the motion was adopted by the House of Commons and since.
It must be understood that compensation can only be made once the necessary medical information about those infected is available and the discussions between all parties have concluded.
As part of gathering this necessary medical information, we anticipate that class counsel for the pre-1986/post-1990 class will send a letter before year’s end to the pre-1986/post-1990 class. The letter seeks consent to obtain medical information from the pre-1986/post-1990 class in an effort to gather information needed to move discussions forward. The letter demonstrates that all parties involved are committed to dealing with this issue as quickly as possible.
We are working as quickly as possible to reach a successful conclusion that takes into account the actual and legal circumstances of the claimants. The negotiations are addressing these issues and all parties continue to work together in good faith to provide the necessary information upon which to base a compensation framework.