Talks back on to reach out-of-court settlement for N.L. residential schools

Talks between lawyers representing the former students and the federal government broke off on Thursday without a deal but now lawyers for the former students say progress was made over the weekend.
In February, Lawyer Steve Cooper says the new Liberal government in Ottawa appears to be more sensitive to Indigenous issues. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Negotiations have resumed to reach an out-of-court settlement for former residential school students in this province.

Talks between lawyers representing the former students and the federal government broke off on Thursday without a deal, but said Tuesday that progress was made over the weekend.

"The discussions are ongoing. We are making sufficient progress that we see the utility in continuing the discussions," said Steve Cooper, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.

More than 1,000 people allege they suffered physical and sexual abuse at schools and an orphanage in the province. They say they were also stripped of their languages and cultures.

The Newfoundland and Labrador plaintiffs were excluded from a 2008 settlement with, and apology to, other Canadian residential school students. 

Ottawa claims no responsibility

Ottawa said it was not responsible for what happened to indigenous students in this province.

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A class action lawsuit was launched on their behalf more than eight years ago, and went to trial in September.

Court proceedings adjourned Feb.1 after lawyers told the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador that they wanted time to try to reach a negotiated settlement.

Retired Supreme court Judge Robert Wells is helping with the negotiations.

Cooper says it's important to settle quickly because former students are aging and more than 100 of them have died since the case began.

The trial is scheduled to resume in May if an out-of-court deal can't be reached.