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

Students at Cape Dorset (Kinngait) Federal Hostel, in April 1964. A nationwide class action lawsuit against the Canadian government for survivors of federal Indian day schools has reached a proposed settlement amount. The case will make its way to Winnipeg Federal Court for approval in May. (Library and Archives Canada)

By Courtney Edgar

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.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by oragalee wilson on

    I need to know where to get a application form in order to apply for benefit I deserve, please send me information ,tks

    • Posted by Information Will Come on

      “Information about how to make a claim will be available if the settlement is approved after May 15.”

    • Posted by charlene cardinal on

      may i get the application form

      • Posted by Information Will Come on

        “Information about how to make a claim will be available if the settlement is approved after May 15.”

      • Posted by Tina Francis on

        I attended Indian Day School On Lennox Island this information was brought to my attention last week. April 16th. 2019. My Phone Numbers To Be Reached 603-260-5579 home number 603-425-8438 cell I live in Londonderry NH
        Tina Francis
        198 Fieldstone DR
        Londonderry NH 03053
        I am a member of the Lennox Island Band I’m Mi”kmaq.
        I was informed the deadline is coming near
        so can you please contact me and direct me to what it is i need to do to get my information into you about the treatment i experienced from kindergarten to 6th grade then went to school off the reserve.

  2. Posted by Stanley C. Salopree on

    I am a Day School survivor and also had suffered an Intergeneration effect from my mother who had attended Residental school. She had attended St. Henry Residental school in Ft. Vermillion, Ab. I have a question whether I can also submit claim for this intergeneration effect and impact? My contact phone is: 780293-1410.

    Stanley C. Salopree

  3. Posted by Catherine piugattuk on

    When to school to chesterfield inlet st. Joseph federal school from 1962 to 1966

  4. Posted by Natalino piugattuk on

    When to school to chesterfield inlet st.Joseph school from 1957 to 1963

  5. Posted by Catherine piugattuk on

    When to chesterfield inlet st.Joseph school from 1962to1966

  6. Posted by Paulossie Tookalook on

    I attended the Federal Day School in Great Whale River known as Kuujjuaraapik now, we had as with my classmates had very strict and very harsh teachers, we were told not to speak in our mother tongue language when we did we would have to write on blackboards 50 times,they would slap our hands or on the bum with a long ruler,they would check on us while we were taking a shower, some teachers would throw us around inside the classroom, the teacher would be very mad pushing the chairs and tables, this one student was thrown around inside the classroom like a rag doll that i never forget, they would hit us on the head with their knuckles and crab us on the neck if we didn’t do what they say, let us stay in corners or stay in after school, sometimes i would be scared of the teachers.

  7. Posted by Donna on

    Is the statute of limitations utilized on the cut off date of July 2007? Or how was it determined ?

  8. Posted by Ethel on

    I suffered from this class action… but is there any one who is doing the after… meaning town school as my abuse didn’t stop there… any lawyer doing law suits for the section of district school boards..

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