Better late than never: $50 cheques awarded 16 years after ice storm

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Stephan Dussault, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

MONTREAL — Sixteen years after the most devastating ice storm in Canadian history, 725,000 Quebec families have received compensation cheques for their troubles — a sum of $50.92 each.

The cheques came from 15 insurance companies following years of negotiations.

Policyholders had sought far greater compensation in a 2001 class action lawsuit.

They wanted $75 per person for every day they were displaced, plus $250 per person in damages.

Victims received 143 times less in the final out-of-court settlement.

Three days of freezing rain toppled trees and power lines in January 1998, leaving one million people without power in Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Twenty-five people died, mostly from hypothermia.

Policyholders had challenged insurers who had refused to pay compensation for living expenses even though such payments were included in the policies.

Insurance firms had argued that the absence of an evacuation order nullified the policies.

They later agreed to settle for $40 million.


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