A Step Forward: Court Dismisses One of Chief Ottawa’s Appeals
On December 11, 2019, the Federal Court of Appeal delivered a decision dismissing one of Chief Paul-Émile Ottawa’s appeals. These appeals, submitted on behalf of Chief Ottawa by his lawyer, David Schulze (Partner, Dionne Schulze, S.E.N.C.), have been the main cause of delay in opening the claims process for Federal Indian Day School Survivors.
The decision comes days after the AFN passed a resolution urging Chief Ottawa to withdraw his two appeals so that Survivors can move forward to achieve recognition and justice (you can see the resolution, read on the floor of the AFN’s recent conference, here.
Claims process remains in limbo. Here’s why:
While this decision represents a major step forward, it does not clear the path for Survivors to begin submitting claims. That is because Chief Ottawa has 60 days to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to review the Federal Court’s decision. Unless Chief Ottawa decides to waive his right to approach the Supreme Court, the claims process will remain stalled for at least the next two months. Further, there is the matter of Chief Ottawa’s second appeal, which is still pending before the Federal Court of Appeal.
What this means for Class Members:
Until Chief Ottawa’s appeals are put to rest for good, Class Members will not be able to begin submitting claims for compensation. We hear the frustration and concern this is causing Survivors. We have spoken to hundreds of Class members who have expressed their dismay over this situation. We are fully committed to doing everything in our power to move things forward as quickly as possible. We honour the words of Lead Plaintiff, Margaret Swan:
“This settlement is about the healing we need for our children…this could be a start to helping us, our children, our families, so that we don’t have to continue to fight the horrors and damage from these schools.”
We will continue to keep you up-to-date as this situation evolves. We thank you for your help in sharing this information with other Survivors.
November 6, 2019
On October 31st, Class Counsel received a court challenge to the Indian Day School settlement from David Schulze (Partner, Dionne Schulze, S.E.N.C.) on behalf of his client, a class member. Class Counsel is in the process of assessing the challenge.
What Does this Mean for Class Members
If not resolved in the next few weeks, this court challenge could delay the opening of the claims process for an unknown period of time. Until this matter is addressed, Class Members will not be able to apply for compensation.
What are the Next Steps
We recognize the frustration and concern that this update may cause Class Members. We want to assure you that Class Counsel is committed to pursuing all avenues to move the settlement forward as quickly as possible. We will keep you informed as matters progress. Please check this website for updates, and please feel free to call or email us if you have any questions.
August 19, 2019
The Federal Court has approved a nation-wide class settlement to compensate survivors 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. To be eligible for direct compensation, a person must have attended at least one of the Federal Indian Day Schools or Federal Day Schools funded, managed and controlled by Canada, and listed on Schedule K.
Beginning August 19th, 2019, Class Members will have 90 days to opt-out of the Settlement by removing themselves from the Class. Opting out is a serious and permanent decision. Those choosing to opt-out of the Settlement will receive no compensation from this Settlement but will retain the right to bring an individual claim against Canada for harms suffered, if they wish to do so. Anyone choosing to opt out must complete and submit the Opt Out Form by November 18th, 2019.
What can I do now?
Survivors will be able to apply for compensation, however, compensation will not be issued until after the implementation date. Claims for compensation will begin to be processed for compensation 120 days from August 19th, 2019, subject to any appeals that are brought.
The Claims Form is available for review here or by contacting Gowling WLG. Right now, we encourage people to review the Claims Form and requirements. Information about how to make a claim will become available on this website in the coming weeks. Once the claims process has started, Class Members will have two and a half years to complete the Claims Form. To be eligible for compensation, Survivor Class Members must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on Schedule K.
You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQ section, copies of important notices, access to key forms and other documents in our Documents section, as well as most recent updates in the settlement process.
Please complete a Registration Form to receive information about the settlement as it becomes available. There is no deadline to register. Should you have any questions or require support, please contact us at 1 (844) 539-3815.