Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -
Greg Gutzler, a New York lawyer for dozens of women alleging they were abused by Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard, said he hopes the Manitoba Legislature will pass a bill designed to reform the abuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).
Gutzler said it is known that Peter Nygard used NDAs to silence people working for his company, including victims and employees alike.
"The allegations we've filed against Peter Nygard in New York are beyond shocking - and much of it was enabled by the fact that NDAs could be used as a threat to punish people for speaking the truth," said Gutzler. "It will be up to courts to deliver justice against Nygard, but I hope Manitobans will agree an NDA should never be used to quell disclosure of sexual assault."
Bill 225 is based on a bill passed unanimously by the PEI legislature last year, and the work of Order of Canada lawyer Julie Macfarlane, who was a law professor at the University of Windsor law school.
Macfarlane has joined forces with Zelda Perkins, who broke the first NDA against Harvey Weinstein in the UK. They have been working on a campaign to reform the abuse of NDAs.
"It is increasingly clear to Canadians that the widespread abuse of NDAs allows organizations like Hockey Canada and many others to simply bury complaints about harassment, abuse and discrimination," said Macfarlane. "Getting serious about standing up to predatory and abusive behaviour means passing laws that outlaw NDAs in these circumstances. Manitoba has the opportunity to adopt this Bill and be at the forefront of tearing down the silencing and exploitation of victims"
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont introduced the bill after hearing from individuals in Manitoba who, after suffering mistreatment, want to be able to speak up but were told they had to sign NDAs as a condition of getting even a meagre settlement - or no settlement at all.
"In Manitoba, across Canada, and around the world we have seen more than 30 years of abuse swept under the rug. NDAs have been weaponized by predators and the institutions that protect them to cover up sexual assault and sexual harassment. There's no justification for this and we hope we can get the unanimous support for the bill that we saw in PEI," said Lamont.
All Manitoba MLAs will be voting on Bill 225 during Second Reading next week, Tuesday, October 11, in the Manitoba Legislature.
You can read the statement of claim against Peter Nygard here (See page 17 + 18): https://dicellolevitt.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Second-Amended-Complaint-6.10.20.pdf