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.
Indigenous Watchdog Status Update
|Current Status||June 4, 2021||IN PROGRESS|
|Previous Status||March 31, 2021||IN PROGRESS|
Why “In Progress”?
Government has reached settlement agreements with survivors of the Sixties Scoop, Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools, Indian Day Schools (as of Agreement-in-Principal on Dec. 18, 2018), Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (May 8, 2019) and Kivalliq Hall in Nunavut (April 16, 2019) that had been excluded from the TRC Settlement Agreement. The St. Annes’s Residential Schools settlement is still pending.
Settlements for parties excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
Student on student abuse
Mar. 13, 2018 – The government believes there are some instances where Indian Residential School survivors who suffered abuse at the hands of fellow students may not have received fair compensation. The Government will pursue negotiated settlements with survivors whose claims of student-on-student abuse were previously dismissed or under-compensated.
May 8, 2019 – Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Canada and a steering committee representing Île-à-la-Crosse Boarding School survivors. Survivors and their families were left out of the compensation agreement negotiated in the 1990s and were never compensated for the loss of their culture, language and traditions, nor for the abuses endured while in school. The school operated from the 1880s to the mid-1970s before it was closed and became a treatment centre.
St. Anne’s Indian Residential School
March 26, 2021: Nishnawbe Aski Nation – Survivors of St. Anne’s Residential school are rejecting Ottawa’s independent review announced on March 18, 2021 outright. Canada hasn’t consulted the survivors with any meaningful dialogue on this new process and without their duty to consult in good faith. “We reject Minister Bennett’s offer as it minimizes the rights of survivors and access to a fair and just review.” said Leo Ashamock, PKKA Board member.
On further evaluation of Canada’s offer of an independent review, we found that it focused only on a handful of St. Anne’s survivors. This would close the door on possibly hundreds of survivors impacted with the introduction of new information. It takes away from their right to choose through a new legal process.
“We are extremely disappointed with the underhanded legal tactics by the Government of Canada to deny the justice that these survivors so rightfully deserve. Prolonging this senseless legal battle with false promises of an independent review makes a mockery of this government’s commitment to reconciliation. I implore Minster Bennett to direct her officials do the right thing, ”said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
March 18, 2021 – Toronto Star – The federal government has asked for an Independent Review of thousands of documents for St. Anne’s survivors claims
Nov. 20, 2020: CBC – From Jan. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2020 total legal costs in the case against survivors of St. Anne’s residential school, which was in Fort Albany, Ont., on James Bay, amounts to $3,231,000.
Nov. 5, 2020: APTN – Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that the residential school fight over documents cannot be transferred to BC but must be heard by an Ontario Superior Court judge citing “access to justice considerations”. The Ontario government, siding with the survivors, argued Perell had overstepped his authority by ordering the B.C. move. The federal government argued the justice was entitled to make the ruling.
May 10, 2018 – Survivors have no right to documents they argued were crucial to compensating them for the horrific abuses they suffered, Ontario’s top court has ruled. However, in its decision this week, the Appeal Court agreed the claimant had no direct tie to the civil litigation materials and the government, therefore, was not obliged to turn them over.
May 2, 2018 – Carolyn Bennett on behalf of the Government of Canada, has agreed to enter into negotiations towards a meaningful resolution to the ongoing legal battle between survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School and the federal government.
Jan. 4, 2018 – Ontario Superior court ruled that the federal government could continue to reject the use of police and court transcripts as evidence in student-on-student compensation claims from survivors who attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School.
Dec. 14, 2017 – The government will not release the former testimony collected in the 1990s and has taken the position that all witnesses, must re-testify.
Dec. 2016 – Federal Govt. is challenging. Records of a criminal investigation and prosecutions that took place as a result of abuse allegations were only disclosed under court orders in 2014. This secrecy and delay meant other survivors missed out on compensation granted under settlement of a class action related to the residential school system. More than 700 other former students, told the Ontario Provincial Police what been included in the Truth and Reconciliation happened to them but their testimony has not been included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission archives held at the University of Manitoba.
Jan. 14, 2014 – St. Anne’s survivors (about 1,000) have proved that the government filed false reports about child abuse at St. Anne’s. More than 12,000 documents had been in possession of the federal Department of Justice from St. Anne’s survivors about their sexual and severe abuse, but this information was surpressed by the federal government for the Independent Assessment (IAP) process
Residential Schools Class Action Settlement, Newfoundland and Labrador
May 11, 2016 – $50M settlement after 9 years of litigation after NL was excluded form initial Residential School Settlement Agreement. Students who lived in school residences for less than five years will be eligible for $15,000 in general compensation, while those who lived there five years or more will be eligible for $20,000.
Nov. 24, 2017 – The Innu Nation will not accept Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology to the province’s residential school survivors. Innu Nation wrote it feels the apology will be too narrow, covering just residential schools. They argue Innu people have also suffered under other institutions, like Mount Cashel Orphanage, and the provincial child protection system which exists today.
Dec. 28, 2020: CBC – Supreme Court will decide in January whether The Archdiocese of St. John’s is liable for physical and sexual abuse suffered by Indigenous claimants at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. The Archdiocese of St. John’s claims no ownership over the orphanage, and no affiliation with the brothers who worked there. A Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador judge sided with the church in 2018, but three appellate judges in the province sided with the victims in July 2020, ruling the Catholic Church was liable for damages because of its close relationship with the Christian Brothers. Canada’s top court will soon decide whether to hear one last appeal or put the case to bed and leave the Catholic Church to pay for the sins of the brothers who ran the orphanage and school.
Jan. 24, 2021 – CBC – Supreme Court of Canada rejected the appeal from the Archdiocese of St. John’s ruling that “The Archdiocese of St. John’s is liable for the abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s… The case has been snaking its way through the courts for 21 years. The church is now liable to pay the outstanding bills left behind by the Christian Brothers of Ireland when the organization went bankrupt from settling child abuse lawsuits in 2012.
Kivalliq Hall 1985 – 1995, Nunavut
May 2, 2019 – Former students who attended Kivalliq Hall from the period of June 12, 1985 to December 3I, 1997, who meet the criteria under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (“IRSSA”), are eligible to apply for compensation in the form of a Common Experience Payment (“CEP”). Canada will start accepting application on May 1st 2019.
Indian Day Schools
March 12, 2019 – Announcement that parties have reached a proposed settlement agreement recognizing the harms suffered by former students of Indian Day Schools. The proposed settlement agreement includes $10,000 in individual compensation for thousands of Indigenous people who suffered harm while attending federally operated Indian Day Schools. Those who experienced physical and sexual abuse are eligible for additional compensation, with amounts ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 based on the severity of the abuses suffered.
The proposed settlement agreement also provides an investment of $200 million to the McLean Day School Settlement Corporation for Legacy Projects that support healing, wellness, education, language, culture and commemoration for class members and their communities.
March 13, 2019 – The Government of Canada announced a range for the settlement for Indigenous Day School survivors on March 12, 2019. The lack of detail on the process, clarity on the individual adjudication process and the principle of access to legal counsel is sorely missing. We are calling on the Minister of Indigenous Crown Relations, Carolyn Bennett, to provide clarity on these issues as soon as possible,” said, Joan Jack, on behalf of a number of class action members.
Aug. 19, 2019 – The Federal Court has approved a nation-wide class action settlement to compensate survivors (approximately 200,000) for harms suffered while attending Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools. The settlement includes compensation for eligible Survivor Class Members ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 based on the level of harm experienced as well as the creation of a Legacy Fund of $200 million to support commemoration projects, health and wellness projects, and language and culture initiatives
June 7, 2021 – Crown-Indigenous Relations – A settlement has been reached with Survivor and Descendant Class Members in the Gottfriedson Indian Residential Schools Day Scholar class action. The settlement agreement combines individual compensation for harms experienced in attending an Indian Residential School as a Day Scholar with forward-looking investments to support healing, wellness, education, language, culture, heritage and commemoration for Survivors and Descendants.
Dec. 8, 2020 – CTV News – A group dedicated to Sixties Scoop survivors is urging the government and representative law firms to reinstate the deadlines for the First Nations/Inuit Sixties Scoop settlement agreement. Katherine Legrange, director of the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada, wrote a letter to the class counsel on behalf of the group’s board, saying that many survivors have been left frustrated and disappointed with the claims process. Representatives from the Government of Canada were also included as recipients of the letter.
Last December, Collectiva, the claims administrator, was granted a deadline extension to report the final number of eligible claims, but it was not given the new deadline. Then in April, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline was suspended. Now, the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada wants the deadline reinstated. many claimants have expressed the need to lift the hold and reinstate deadlines for those needing to submit additional information.”
June 2, 2020 – The Federal Court of Canada approved an order allowing the Administrator of the Sixties Scoop Class Action (Collectiva) to issue interim payments of $21,000 to all Eligible Class Members. To date, over 12,500 individuals have been deemed eligible for individual payment as part of a national settlement between the Government of Canada and plaintiffs representing Sixties Scoop Survivors. A similar order to issue interim payments is being placed in front of the Ontario Superior Court, which also presides over the Settlement.
This announcement comes in the wake of delays to the claims process resulting from COVID-19. To protect public health, a number of provincial archives have closed. These archives contain important information that the Administrator needs to verify some people’s claims. Further, social distancing has created barriers for Applicants seeking information and support to back up claims that have been flagged by the Administrator as incomplete.
Mar. 11, 2019 – Engagement sessions across the Métis Homeland hosted by Métis Nation Governing Members will be held over the next two months for Métis survivors of the ‘Sixties Scoop’. These engagement sessions will help inform the federal government and the Métis Nation in addressing the legacy of the 60s Scoop on the Métis and to reconcile its harmful effects. While the First Nations and Inuit have achieved reconciliation through civil action lawsuits against Canada, the Métis Nation is taking an unprecedented approach to reconciliation based on its nation-to-nation relationship with Canada.
Oct. 6, 2017 – Federal Pan Canadian Settlements
The settlement ($800M) “Agreement-in-Principle includes “Indians” (per the Indian Act) and “Inuit” survivors (approximately 20,000) of the Sixties Scoop across Canada, including those who lived on and off reserve, and who were removed from their homes and lost their cultural identities between 1951 and 1991. Settles up to 19 separate lawsuits.
Nov. 20, 2017 – Pressure is mounting on the federal Liberals to compensate Métis people who were taken from their families in the Sixties Scoop, after they were excluded from an $800-million settlement last month. (Winnipeg Free Press)
Canadian Bar Association
Responding to the TRC Calls to Action
March, 2016 – In 2009, the CBA called on the federal government to provide an alternative dispute resolution process for Indigenous students who were victimized in settings other the residential schools governed by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, either by expanding the scope of the Independent Assessment Process or by creating a similar process for Indigenous Canadians who lost language and culture or suffered physical, sexual or psychological abuse while compelled to attend schools for indigenous children. The CBA endorses call to action 29 as consistent with that approach.
Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019
The Government of Canada has committed to resolving Indigenous Childhood Claims Litigation outside of the courts. This commitment to reconciliation and resolution of claims of this nature has been demonstrated by the settlement of the Anderson litigation (Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools), the Prime Minister’s apology to former students of the Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools, the appointment of James Igloliorte, a former student, as the Minister’s Special Representative to lead healing and commemoration in Anderson, the Status Indians and Inuit Sixties Scoop settlement, the creation of Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation and the proposed settlement of the Mclean Indian Day School litigation.