Bill to restrict NDA use in sexual misconduct and discrimination cases passes 3rd reading on P.E.I.

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The bill, which was sponsored by Green MLA Lynne Lund, was endorsed by Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson and passed second reading on Tuesday. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters - image credit)
The bill, which was sponsored by Green MLA Lynne Lund, was endorsed by Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson and passed second reading on Tuesday. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters - image credit)

Legislation designed to prevent non-disclosure agreements from being abused in order to silence victims of harassment and discrimination is set to become law on P.E.I.

The Legislative Assembly unanimously approved the bill on third reading Wednesday, making P.E.I. the first province in Canada to pass such legislation.

The bill, which was sponsored by Green MLA Lynne Lund, was endorsed by Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson and passed second reading on Tuesday.

It would allow non-disclosure agreements to be imposed in cases of harassment and discrimination only if the person who made the allegations wishes to enter one.

It also sets clear requirements for NDAs before they're considered to be enforceable, and introduces mechanisms for those who do enter such agreements so they can waive their confidentiality in the future.

Legal experts and organizations on and off the Island have voiced their support for the bill.

"It is my belief that unless lawmakers step in to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements, these provisions will continue to be demanded by settling parties in both harassment and discrimination cases, and all too often survivors will accept them in order to secure a settlement that brings them some closure," Zelda Perkins wrote in a letter to the P.E.I. Legislature.

Perkins broke her NDA with notorious sexual predator Harvey Weinstein and Miramax Films against legal advice in 2017, and has been advocating for legislation such as this in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The bill's enactment clause means it won't come into effect until six months after it becomes law, unless the provincial cabinet chooses to enact it earlier.

It will need royal assent before it becomes law.

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