Proposed settlement reached for survivors of federal Indian day schools
Individuals who attended a federal Indian day school may be compensated between $10,000 and $200,000
If you attended a federal Indian day school, you could receive a settlement of between $10,000 and $200,000 in a nationwide class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada.
The proposed settlement amount is intended to compensate survivors for harms suffered while attending the federally operated Indian day schools.
A class action lawsuit was launched in 2009, by law firm Gowling WLG, for survivors of Indian day schools, who were excluded from the Indian residential schools settlement agreement.
How much could survivors get?
In May, the Winnipeg federal court will be asked to approve this proposed settlement for all Indigenous, Inuit and Métis survivors of Indian day schools.
If approved, anyone who attended a federal Indian day school will be eligible to claim that compensation, said a news release issued on March 12 by the law firm.
The amount will range from $10,000 for harms associated with attending a day school to a maximum of $200,000 for repeated sexual abuse or physical assault that led to long-term injury.
Those who are eligible will receive a payment that reflects the most severe harms they suffered while attending an Indian day school, not taking into account the number of schools attended.
While family members of past students will not be eligible for compensation, estates can make claims. If a past student has died since July 31, 2007, the estate of that person can still make a claim on that person’s behalf.
As well, this proposed settlement includes a $200-million legacy fund to support commemoration projects, health and wellness programs, and language and culture initiatives for communities.
Know your rights
Day school survivors who accept the proposed settlement don’t need to do anymore until May, when the proposed settlement amounts are approved or not approved.
However, survivors who disagree with the settlement can formally object to it through an objection form. Any objections will be taken into account by the court. These must be submitted to class counsel by May 3.
Anyone who wants to show their support for the proposed settlement can submit a statement of support online. The deadline for this is also May 3.
Information about those forms can be found on the law firm’s website for the class action lawsuit.
As well, any survivors interested in speaking in court during the approval hearings in May, either to express concerns or to support the proposed settlement, have the right to do so.
After the hearings
The final decision on approving or not approving the settlement will be made by the judge at the Federal Court in Winnipeg from May 13 to May 15. The hearings will be open to the public.
An approval decision will be made some time after May 15.
In addition, if the settlement is approved, class members will be allowed to opt out of the settlement. This would mean that they would not receive compensation in this suit, but they would retain the right to bring their own claim against Canada for harms suffered.
Objecting to the settlement amount before May 3 is not the same thing as opting out of the settlement. Those who make objection statements can still receive compensation, if this proposed settlement is approved in court during the May 13 to May 15 hearings.
Since this class action lawsuit only covers survivors of federally run Indian day schools, it does not cover students who went to day schools that were operated by other entities, like the provinces.
A list of federal day schools covered by this class action lawsuit is available online.
For anyone who attended Indian day school but does not know if it was run by the federal government, you should contact the Gowling WLG, so they can determine if it should be added to their list.
Information about how to make a claim will be available if the settlement is approved after May 15.
More specific information about the nationwide class action lawsuit can be found on this website.