Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:
“The mistreatment of Indigenous children is a tragic and shameful part of Canada’s history that has had devastating effects on generations of families. Canada is deeply committed to reconciliation and healing, and will continue the important work of making amends for past wrongs.
Today, the Federal Court of Canada approved the Federal Indian Day Schools (McLean) settlement agreement. This approval marks an important step forward on our journey of reconciliation and healing with Indigenous Peoples.
Under the settlement, survivors will be able to apply for individual compensation for harms, including physical and sexual abuse, associated with attending a Federal Indian Day School. The negotiated settlement also includes a forward-looking investment of $200 million in the McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation for Legacy Projects to support healing, wellness, education, language, culture and commemoration.
Now that the settlement agreement has been approved, a 90-day opt-out period and a 60-day appeal period will commence. At this time, any class member that does not agree with the terms of the settlement can choose to remove themselves from this process. Once the appeal period and opt-out periods have concluded, class members who have not opted-out will be able to apply for compensation. Healing and commemoration activities will be available to all those affected by the legacy of Indian Day Schools.
We recognize that any process that involves revisiting past abuses can have a re-traumatizing effect on survivors. The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer culturally competent counselling and crisis intervention. For immediate help, call the toll-free line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
Today’s Federal Court decision is a recognition of the hard work undertaken by all sides toward finding a lasting and meaningful resolution for former students of Federal Indian Day Schools and their families. The advocacy, perseverance, and commitment of survivors of Federal Indian Day Schools to right past wrongs will not be forgotten.”