Settlement Approved for Survivors of Federal Indian Day Schools

Alert Bay, British Columbia, school, 1885. The federal government has estimated that over 150,000 students attended Canada’s residential schools. Library and Archives Canada, George Dawson, PA-037934.
Alert Bay, British Columbia, school, 1885. The federal government has estimated that over 150,000 students attended Canada’s residential schools. Library and Archives Canada, George Dawson, PA-037934.

OTTAWA – The Federal Court approved a nation-wide class action settlement to compensate survivors for harms suffered while attending Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools.

“Today, we are proud to announce that justice has been served for the students of Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools. This settlement is a turning point for all who have suffered and continue to suffer from their experiences, and from their family members’ experiences. It is a milestone on our path to healing. With this settlement, we will continue to work towards reclaiming our languages, cultures and traditions, for our children and our grandchildren. We would like to thank and honour Garry McLean who dedicated so much and for so many years to make this settlement happen. He would be so proud to see what has been accomplished today,” says Roger Augustine, Claudette Commanda, Angela Sampson and Mariette Buckshot, Lead Plaintiffs.

The settlement includes the following:

  • Compensation for eligible Class Members ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 based on the level of harm experienced.
  • The creation of a Legacy Fund of $200 million to support commemoration projects, health and wellness projects, and language and culture initiatives.

To be eligible for compensation, survivors must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on Schedule K, which can be found on the website at http://www.indiandayschools.com/en/.

Important information for Class Members:

90-day opt out period begins August 19, 2019:

Beginning today, Class Members have 90 days to opt-out of the Settlement by removing themselves from the Class. Opting out is a serious and permanent decision. Those choosing to opt-out of the Settlement will receive no compensation from this Settlement but will retain the right to bring an individual claim against Canada at their own cost for harms suffered, if they wish to do so. Anyone choosing to opt out must complete and submit the Opt Out Form by November 18th, 2019.

Claims for compensation:

Survivors will be able to apply for compensation. However, compensation will not be issued until after the implementation date. Claims for compensation will begin to be processed for compensation 120 days from August 19th, 2019, subject to any appeals that are brought. More information will be available on the website in the coming weeks.

The Claims Form is available for review on the Indian Day School Website or by contacting Class Counsel. Class Members will have two and a half years to complete the Claims Form. To be eligible for compensation, Survivor Class Members must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on Schedule K. More information about the Claims Process and Schedule K can be found on the website at http://www.indiandayschools.com/en/.

Legal and mental health supports available for Class Members

Class Counsel is committed to supporting Class Members through the Claims Process. Class Members can receive help filling out their Claims Forms at no cost to them by calling the Gowling WLG call center at 1-844-539-3815.

Further, Class Counsel is currently working with the Claims Administrator, Deloitte, to schedule a series of information sessions in communities across the country. A list of information sessions will be available on the Indian Day School Website in the coming weeks.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to Class Members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Hope for Wellness Hotline. Contact Hope for Wellness at 1-855-242-3310 or through their online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, on request.

“Firstly, I would like to thank the Creator for the strength and perseverance of all who helped and supported this process, Meegwetch. I acknowledge Mr. Garry McLean for his courageous efforts to move this case forward, the law firm that agreed to take on this case when no else would and the federal government for finally signing an agreement. No amount of money will ever compensate for the damage Day Schools caused our people for generations and the trauma we are working hard to repair. All you have to do is look around in the different western systems that continue to oppress us to see this damage and trauma, including in the child welfare system, justice system and health system,” said Margaret Swan, Lead Plaintiff.

More detailed information can be found on the website here.