There is obviously a need for information…


Dream CatcherTHUNDER BAY – Special to NNL – Every week, dozens of people call our office from remote communities in the NAN area and elsewhere in Canada.   Most of them ask the questions found below.

There is obviously a need for information regarding compensation for abuse that happened at the residential schools, and we are here to help survivors obtain access to justice.

I and three Aboriginal lawyers who work with me, have been helping victims of residential school abuse seek compensation for past wrongs since the class action was first started 11 years ago.

Sadly, there are many people in our area who simply do not understand their rights or who were simply too harmed by childhood abuse to come forward. ??I have long believed that those who were most seriously abused would be the least likely to come forward.   And sadly, that is proving to be the case.

Persons who were sexually abused in the residential schools have the right to damages under the Settlement Agreement, which was achieved after many years of a very difficult court battle known as Baxter v. Canada, the National Class Action.

It seemed appropriate therefore for us to simply provide you with Frequently Asked Questions and the Answers we generally provide to the residential school survivors who contact us for information.

We are here to help.   If we can help any survivors pursue justice for past wrongs, we would be only too happy for them to step forward. We invite all survivors in the NAN area to come to us with their specific questions.

I hope the Frequently Asked Questions FAQs and Answers provided below will be of some assistance to all survivors throughout NAN ’ s territory.

Richard W Courtis


34 – 816 N. Cumberland Street ?Thunder Bay, ON   P7A 4L3

Telephone (807) 623-3000 ?Facsimile (807) 623-1251

Toll Free 1-877-266-6646


QUESTION: How do I know if I am entitled to additional compensation through the Independent Assessment Process IAP?

ANSWER: If you were the victim of serious sexual abuse or very serious physical abuse while you were living at a residential school, you are likely eligible for compensation.

QUESTION: What types of sexual abuse are compensable?

ANSWER: The types of sexual abuse for which compensation is available are set out on page 3 of Schedule D, part of the Settlement Agreement.   You can find the Settlement Agreement by

QUESTION: If I was sexually abused at residential school, how much compensation could I expect?

ANSWER: Compensation through the IAP is calculated by a point system.   Points are awarded to a claimant for:

–     The abuse suffered

–     Consequences of that abuse – This is referred to as HARMS.    For details of HARMS see page 4 of Schedule D to the Settlement Agreement by

–     Loss of Opportunity – This means:   Did the abuse you suffered at residential school have an impact on your ability to obtain or retain a good job?

–     There are aggravating factors that can lead to a modest increase in the award compensation.

Generally speaking, awards range from  0 – $200,000.00. The maximum possible is $275,000.00. The average award is just under $100,000.00.

QUESTION: I have never told anyone about the abuse I suffered because I am ashamed.   Will the process be difficult?   Is there help available to me in dealing with the deep hurt I have suffered?

ANSWER: Every survivor of residential school who has been found to be eligible for the Common Experience Payment is entitled to healing therapy.   There are several therapists in Thunder Bay and a few in Kenora who treat residential school survivors throughout Northwestern Ontario.   Health Canada will provide funding for anyone who attended residential school whether or not they choose to proceed with a claim through the IAP.   Even transportation expenses to and from remote communities is available.   We encourage all of our clients to take advantage of this opportunity.

QUESTION: I am not sure if I quality for compensation.   What should I do?

ANSWER: Call us TOLL FREE AT 1-877-266-6646.   One of our lawyers will happily discuss your case with you.   This is a free service available to all survivors of residential school abuse.   We are here to help all survivors who were victims of horrible abuse to obtain the justice they deserve.

QUESTION: Why should I contact your firm?

ANSWER: We have been actively involved in the pursuit of justice for residential school survivors since 1998.   We were co-counsel of record in the National Class Action which was filed in June 2000 and which gave rise to the Settlement Agreement in 2005 which made the Common Experience Payment available to all survivors of residential school.   We are committed to ensure that all persons who suffered abuse obtain the justice they are entitled to, through the Independent Assessment Process.


ANSWER: YES!!! According to the Settlement Agreement, even if you were the victim of the most serious abuse you must start your claim by September 19, 2012.   That date is fast approaching.   If you were abused at residential school, you haven’t a moment to lose and you should contact us without delay.

QUESTION: I live in a remote Community, there are several survivors in our community who were abused at school and need help with IAP process. Can you help us?

ANSWER: YES!!! If there are a number of victims in your community who need help, call us. We can sometimes come up to remote communities to speak to groups of victims.

Richard Courtis was called to the bar of Ontario in 1978. He is a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, a graduate of Lakehead University and of the University of Western Ontario Law School. He spent more than 15 years as a Crown prosecutor and now practices civil and criminal litigation. His firm has experience in numerous personal injury lawsuits, particularly cases arising from serious motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents and accidents where victims have sustained serious brain injuries.

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