Nfld. & Labrador

Residential schools lawsuit will not start until next fall

Former students at residential schools in Labrador and northern Newfoundland will have to wait until September for a class action trial to start.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court building in St. John's. (CBC)

Former students at residential schools in Labrador and northern Newfoundland will have to wait until September for a class action trial to start.

Plaintiffs had wanted to launch the case last week, but it ran into procedural delays. 

Justice Robert Stack, in a written decision, said he needed to accommodate both the wishes of plaintiffs to move forward with the case as well as third parties, who told the court they need at least six months to be ready for a trial. 

"I order that the trial commence as expeditiously as possible," Stack wrote. 

"The time [for preparation] can be lessened through co-operation among the parties coupled with forceful direction by me." 

Stack has set a date of Sept. 28 for the start of the trial, and has asked lawyers to meet with him in the next two weeks to discuss how deadlines will be met. 

Just over 1,000 aboriginal people are seeking an apology for what they described as abusive treatment in schools run by the International Grenfell Association and the Moravian Missionaries. 

The schools were located in St. Anthony, Cartwright, North West River, Nain and Makkovik.

Because they operated before Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation in 1949, they were excluded from the federal government's 2008 apology as well as a related compensation package.