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Justice

29. Work collaboratively with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

In progress - Projects proposed

Summary:

Some disputed legal issues with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement remain unresolved.

The Call to Action:

We call upon the parties and in particular, the federal government, to work collaboratively with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to have disputed legal issues determined expeditiously on an agreed set of facts.

Analysis:

Some disputed legal issues with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement remain unresolved.

In June 2021, a settlement was reached in a lawsuit against the federal government by “day scholars,” who attended residential schools during the day but returned to their homes at night. Despite attending residential schools, they were not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The settlement has not yet been approved by the court.

The Band Class part of this lawsuit, in which First Nations are suing for damages for lost language and culture caused by residential schools, is scheduled to go to trial in September 2022.

Survivors of some residential schools that were not included on the list of schools in the 2008 settlement agreement have spent years in court to fight for inclusion. Some were successful, others are still fighting.

In August 2019, the Federal Court approved a settlement in a lawsuit on behalf of students who attended federal day schools run by many of the same parties that operated residential schools.

Students who suffered harm while attending the schools are eligible for $10,000 in individual compensation. Those students who experienced physical and sexual abuse are eligible for additional compensation, with amounts ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

In May 2019, the mostly Métis former students from the Île-à-la-Crosse boarding school in Saskatchewan said they were close to an agreement with the federal government to formalize the process to negotiate for compensation.

In September 2016, the federal government negotiated a $50 million settlement with survivors who attended five boarding schools in Newfoundland and Labrador after 1949. They’d previously been excluded from the settlement agreement as Ottawa said it was not responsible for the prior operation of those schools before Newfoundland joined Canada.

In November 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized to those survivors from the Newfoundland and Labrador residential schools.