Biography

I am a lawyer in the firm’s class action practice group where I act exclusively for plaintiffs involved in a range of class actions. My main interests concern class actions for institutional abuse and class actions involving crown liability. I have a particular interest in class actions proceeding in Federal Court.

Most recently, I was class counsel, along with my colleague (Angela Bespflug), in the settlement of an estimated $100M class action for women who experienced gender and sexual harassment while working and volunteering with the RCMP in non-member roles (Tiller et al. v. HMTQ). The settlement was approved by the Federal Court in 2020.

In addition to my core class action practice, I pursue individual civil sexual assault claims, both historical and recent. Many of my sexual abuse cases involve institutions, such as religious organizations, school boards and government ministries. I offer survivors of sexual assault a safe place to discuss their legal situation.

Prior to joining Murphy Battista in 2020, I practised in the class action practice group at a prominent Vancouver class action boutique. The early part of my legal career was in insurance defence. For over a decade, my personal and professional interests have been in the socio-legal field, with a particular interest in Indigenous issues and gender violence. I taught for several years in this area at the University of British Columbia. I also have extensive experience in professional legal education.

Education

  • University of Alberta (Faculty of Law), LL.B, 2004
  • University of Saskatchewan, B.A, 2001

Trial Results

Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.

Angela Bespflug and Janelle O’Connor were counsel on this action and its ground-breaking settlement that provided compensation for female class members who were subjected to sexual harassment and assault in the RCMP workplace. The action is part of an emerging and innovative body of jurisprudence that seeks to push our Canadian judicial system to accept class actions as the preferable procedure for resolving systemic sexual misconduct.

In the News

Angela Bespflug and Janelle O’Connor support call for culturally sensitive claims process in class actions for wrongs against Indigenous people.

May 25, 2020

Angela Bespflug and Janelle O’Connor recently provided an overview for The Lawyer’s Daily of The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (NTRC) report, Lessons Learned: Survivors Perspectives. The NTRC report reviewed the Indian Residential Schools Settlement process from the survivor perspective. A key finding in the report is that a western-centric…

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Settlement estimated at $100M approved for women sexually harassed while employed by RCMP

March 19, 2020

Settlement estimated at $100M approved for women sexually harassed while employed by RCMP, covered in the March 2020 issue of Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Read the article

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Federal court approves next $100M RCMP sexual harassment class-action lawsuit

March 11, 2020

The Federal Court of Canada has approved a $100-million class-action lawsuit for women who worked for the RCMP in non-policing jobs and were subjected to gender-based discrimination. Read the full story

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Federal Court approves $100M settlement

March 11, 2020

Federal Court approves $100M settlement, March 11, 2020:

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First Nations Women Sue B.C. Government Over Foster Care Abuse

February 1, 2020

Janelle O’Connor is representing five First Nations women from different communities around B.C. in a lawsuit against the provincial government over allegations they were sexually and physically abused in foster homes. Read the full Vancouver Sun article: First Nations women sue government over alleged horrific abuse by foster parents …

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Lawsuits allege years of abuse against Indigenous girls in B.C. foster homes

January 31, 2020

Lawsuits allege years of sexual and physical abuse against Indigenous girls in B.C. foster homes, January 31, 2020,

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$100 million RCMP settlement for female civilian workers

July 8, 2019

$100 million RCMP settlement for female civilian workers, CTV National News, July 2019 (at 4:15 into video clip)

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Women Harassed in RCMP Reach $100 Million Settlement after Class Action Lawsuit

July 8, 2019

Women Harassed in RCMP Reach $100 Million Settlement after Class Action Lawsuit, July 8, 2019, HUFFPOST,

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Settlement reached in class action lawsuit (RCMP)

July 8, 2019

Read the full article: Settlement reached in class action lawsuit, July 8, 2019, The National Post,

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New $100M settlement reached in RCMP sexual harrassment case

July 8, 2019

Read the full article: CBC News, July 8, 2019,

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Resources

Community

I am very active in my community and volunteer a significant amount of time at my children’s school. I am an avid, albeit not necessarily talented, squash player. In the winter, I am happiest on skis with my husband, chasing our three young children down the mountain.

Class actions are a unique area of law that even the playing field between regular people and large corporations, governments or other entities. They allow a group of people to demand accountability for wrongdoing and facilitate access to justice for people who would otherwise be unable to proceed on their own.

Janelle O'Connor

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