FAQ

About

Eligibility

Compensation

Legacy Fund

Schedule K – List of Federal Indian Day Schools

Opting-Out

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Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the settlement. The Notice of Settlement Approval – Long Form contains even more detailed information, and we encourage everyone to review it carefully.

The Gowling WLG team is also here to help answer any questions you may have – and our support is free.

About

Q: What is the Federal Indian Day School settlement all about?

In 2009, Garry McLean launched a class action lawsuit against Canada to seek compensation for the harms suffered by Indigenous students forced to attend Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools across Canada. Survivors of Day Schools were excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

In August 19th 2019, the federal court approved a nation-wide class action settlement to compensate survivors for harms suffered while attending federally controlled Day Schools.

Q: The term “Indian” is outdated, not inclusive, and even offensive. Why use it?

Using this word was not an easy choice, because we recognize that it has negative connotations for many people. Federal “Indian Day Schools” were created under Canada’s “Indian Act,” which applied to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The schools, and their name, reflect the dark reality of Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples. This settlement sheds important light on that history.

Q: What rights do I give up, if any, by agreeing to the settlement?

The settlement is now approved. If you do not opt out, then you will give up your right to bring an individual lawsuit against the Federal government for harms experienced as a result of attending a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School. In return, you will be eligible for compensation for the most serious harm you experienced while attending a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School, subject to meeting the requirements outlined in the Claims Form.

Nothing in the proposed settlement agreement prohibits you from bringing a suit against any other entity or organization for harms you experienced.

Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible for the settlement?

To be eligible for compensation, survivors must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on the List of Federal Day Schools (Schedule K) and experienced harm. You can find the list of schools here.

Q: Are family members eligible to receive compensation on behalf of a deceased family member who attended a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School?

While family members are not eligible to receive direct compensation, the estate of a late Class Member who died on or after July 31, 2007 can make a claim on behalf of the deceased.

If the deceased has no will or executor, then an Estate Administrator will need to be appointed. Please visit the link for further information on estate executors and administrators: https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032357/1100100032361

Representatives of estates should begin the process of estate administration as soon as possible to be able to file an application Claims Form within the two and a half (2.5) year Claims Period. If a person has passed away between July 31, 2007 and today, the estate of that person can still make a claim on that person’s behalf. If you have questions, please call us: 1-844-539-3815.

Q: Why does it only go back as far as July 31, 2007?

This was not an arbitrary date that was chosen by the parties, but rather based upon the original filing date of 2009, and the application of the general 2-year limitation period. The Indian Day School class action was filed in 2009 so the cut-off date is July 31, 2007 for this case.

Q: I attended an Indian Day School, but I’m not sure who ran it. Am I eligible?

Some Day Schools were run by entities other than the Federal government, for example by provincial governments. This settlement only applies to those who attended Federally-run and operated schools. To find out if your school was Federally-operated, please review the list of approved Day Schools (Schedule K) or contact Gowling WLG directly.

Q: What if I also attended a Residential School and received a Common Experience Payment from the Residential School settlement? Can I still apply?

Yes. As long as you attended a Federal Indian Day school at some point, you would be eligible to apply for compensation under the proposed settlement.

Q: What if I objected to the terms of the settlement before the settlement was approved? Am I still eligible for compensation?

Yes. Even if you objected to the settlement you are still eligible for compensation. Objecting is not the same as opting out.

Opting out means choosing to remove yourself from the Class. Those who choose to opt out will receive no compensation under this settlement. They will however retain the right to bring their own action against Canada for harms suffered while in a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School should they so wish.

If you have any questions, please call Class Counsel directly or at the following toll-free phone number: 1 (844) 539-3815.

Q: If I am eligible for compensation and do not opt-out of this settlement, can I still sue a provincial or religious institution?

Yes. Nothing in the settlement agreement prohibits you from bringing a suit against a province, religious institution, or any entity, other than the Federal Government, for harms you experienced at a school run by them.

Q: What if I have already started my own legal proceeding against Canada for harms I suffered while attending a Federal Day School? Am I still eligible for compensation under the terms of this settlement?

If you have started your own legal proceeding against Canada relating to its funding, control, and management of Day Schools and you do not discontinue it on or before the opt out deadline, November 18th, 2019, you will be considered to have opted out of the settlement. You will not be eligible to apply for compensation under this class action.

Compensation

Q: What does the settlement include in terms of compensation?

Compensation ranges from $10,000 for harms associated with attending a Federal Indian Day School or Federal Day School to $200,000 for repeated sexual abuse and/or physical assault leading to long-term injury. Eligible Class Members will receive a payment reflecting the most severe harms they suffered while attending an Indian Day School, irrespective of the number of schools attended.

The settlement recognizes that harm was experienced not only by individual people, but also by families and whole communities. That is why it also includes a $200M Legacy Fund to support commemoration projects, health and wellness programs, as well as language and culture initiatives for Indigenous communities.

Q: How long will people have to apply for compensation?

Eligible Class Members with have two and a half (2.5) years to apply for compensation.

Q: When can I expect to receive compensation?

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. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

Once the claims process has started, Class Members will have two and a half (2.5) 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.

Q: How do I make a claim for compensation?

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 (2.5) years to complete the Claims Form.

As a reminder, to be eligible for compensation, Survivor Class Members must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on Schedule K. Claim forms will be available in English, French, Ojibway, Dene, Cree, Inuktitut and Mi’kmaq.

Q: Will the Claims Process be complicated or difficult?

The claims process is designed to be simple and easy for people to use. It will avoid retraumatizing survivors. Survivors will not be cross-examined or put on the stand and questioned about their stories. The basic Claims Form is fairly short. Some additional information and documents are required to support claims for higher levels of compensation, but those who cannot obtain documents can provide a Sworn Declaration included on the Claims Form.

The Claims Form will be available in English, French, Ojibway, Dene, Cree, Inuktitut and Mi’kmaq.

Class Members can receive assistance completing their Claims Form, at no cost to them, by calling the Gowling WLG call center at 1-844-539-3815. Further, Class Counsel is currently working with the Claims Administrator, Deloitte, to schedule a series of information sessions in communities across the country. A list of information sessions will be available on this website in the coming weeks.

Q: What is a Sworn Declaration? Do I need to submit one?

A Sworn Declaration is a signed statement made by you that the information that you provided in your Claims Form is true to the best of your knowledge. The statement is also signed by a Guarantor. A Sworn Declaration is found at Part 5F of the Claims Form.

Guarantors can include Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths, a Chief, Councillor, or Inuit Community Leader, lawyers, doctors/physicians, accountants or police officers. The Guarantor is only required to see you sign the Sworn Declaration. The Guarantor is not required to read the Sworn Declaration or verify the accuracy of the events described by you.

You are only required to complete a Sworn Declaration if you are missing one or more of the required documents in support of your claim for compensation. More information on these documents can be found in the Claims Form.

Q: How will compensation be distributed?

A Claims Administrator will be responsible for distributing individual compensation to Survivor Class Members.

Claims for compensation will begin to be processed for compensation 120 days from August 19th,2019, subject to any appeals that are brought. Compensation will not be issued until after the implementation date. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

Please do not send Class Counsel your banking information. Compensation under the Settlement will flow directly from the Claims Administrator to the Class Member/claimant.

Q: What assistance will be provided to support me or my community in the Claims Process?

Class Counsel is committed to supporting Class Members through the Claims Process. Class Members can receive assistance completing their Claims Forms at no cost to them by calling the Gowling WLG call center at 1-844-539-3815.

Further, Class Counsel is currently working with the Claims Administrator, Deloitte, to schedule a series of information sessions in communities across the country. A list of information sessions will be available on this website in the coming weeks.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to Class Members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Hope for Wellness Hotline. Contact Hope for Wellness at 1-855-242-3310 or through their online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, on request.

Q: Who decides what level of compensation I am eligible for under the Settlement?

On the Claims Form, you are required to identify which level of compensation you are seeking (i.e. Levels 1 to 5).

If you are an Eligible Class Member and have not previously been compensated for your attendance at a Federal Indian Day School or Federal Day School, the Claims Administrator will assess your Claim and approve a level of compensation in accordance with the Harms Assessment Grid.

If the Claims Administrator approves your claim for a lower level of compensation and you believe you are entitled to receive a higher level of compensation under the Harms Assessment Grid, you have the option to provide further information and to have your claim reconsidered. You will then be notified of the Claims Administrator’s reconsideration.

If the Claims Administrator confirms its initial assessment of a lower level of compensation, you will have the option of having your claim reviewed by a Third-Party Assessor. The decision of the Third-Party Assessor is final.

The Third-Party Assessor may occasionally refer a Claim to the Exceptions Committee for consideration. In these situations, the Exceptions Committee will make the final determination of your Claim.

Q: Can I sign a Claims Form for a family member who is applying for compensation?

To sign the Claims Form for another person, you must be appointed as their Personal Representative. A Personal Representative is appointed by a Court to manage or make reasonable judgements or decisions in respect of the affairs of the person under disability.

If you are acting as a Personal Representative, you must attach documentation to verify your eligibility to act on the Claimant’s behalf, including evidence that you have Power of Attorney of the Claimant’s finances.

Please visit https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032357/1100100032361#chp7 for more information on how to become a Personal Representative of someone under disability.

Q: What if I’m not satisfied with the amount of compensation that I’m getting?

If you disagree with the amount of compensation as determined by the Claims Administrator, you can ask the Claims Administrator for a reconsideration of your claim. If, following the reconsideration by the Claims Administrator, you are still unsatisfied, you can refer your claim to a Third-Party Assessor.

More information on this process can be found in Schedule B of the Settlement Agreement.

Q: Are there any fees or costs associated with participating in this settlement?

No. There are no legal fees or costs associated with applying for compensation. To be eligible for compensation, you must have attended one of the identified Day Schools listed on Schedule K. If you have questions, Gowling WLG is here to help for free.

Q: How are the lawyers getting paid?

Canada has agreed to pay Class Counsel its legal fees and disbursements directly. The amount has been approved by the Court. Class Counsel fees are separate and apart from the compensation for survivors and for the Legacy Fund.

Legacy Fund

Q: What is the Legacy Fund?

The settlement includes a $200M Legacy Fund to support commemoration projects, health and wellness programs, “truth-telling” events and the restoration and preservation of Indigenous languages and culture (‘Legacy Projects’).

Q: How do I apply for the Legacy Fund?

Grants will be made from the McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation in response to proposals made. There will be guidelines and procedures put in place for the selection of organizations that apply for these grants. If an organization is given a grant, it will be responsible for carrying out a Legacy Project in its community.

The McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation will be set up prior to the implementation of the Settlement Agreement, which is 120 days from August 19th, 2019, subject to appeals. The Corporation will develop and make available the guidelines and procedures for organizations to follow in applying for grants under the Legacy Fund.

Schedule K – List of Federal Indian Day Schools

Q: What if I don’t see the school I attended on the list of eligible schools?

The list of eligible schools is now final. If you attended a school on this list, you are eligible to make a claim for compensation. As a reminder, the current list of schools can be found here: https://indiandayschools.com/en/documents/.

Q: Do you have a list of which Day school(s) I attended?

Class Counsel does not have a list of the Federal Indian Day School(s) or Federal Day School(s) that you attended. If you are unsure about which school(s) you attended, we encourage you to speak to any family members, old classmates, or community workers who may know that information.

Q: How can I differentiate a Federal and a Provincial Day school?

A list of Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools can be found here.

If your school is not on the list, it is likely a Provincial Day School or another type of institution.

Q: Where can I locate my school records?

Evidence of attendance includes school records that you or a family member may already have, including report cards, class photographs, or letters from teachers or the principal. Institutional records, such as class lists or administrative documents are not required.

If you cannot obtain school records, you can provide a Sworn Declaration included on the Part 5F Claims Form.

Q: Where can I locate medical, dental, nursing or therapy records?

Medical, dental, nursing, or therapy records can be obtained from your healthcare provider. These records may include current or past health records that document the injury you suffered and any lasting effects to this day.

If you cannot obtain medical, dental, nursing, or therapy records, you can provide a Sworn Declaration included on Part 5F of the Claims Form.

Opting-Out

Q: There is a 90-day opt-out period. What does it mean if I choose to opt out?

Opting out is a serious and permanent decision. Those who choose to opt out will receive no compensation under this settlement. They will however retain the right to bring their own action against Canada at their own cost for harms suffered while in a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School should they so wish.

Starting August 19th, 2019, Class Members have 90 days to opt-out of the settlement. Class Members who choose to opt out of the settlement can do so by completing and submitting an Opt Out Form to Gowling WLG by the deadline, November 18th, 2019.

Q: What’s the difference between objecting and opting out?

Objecting is not the same as opting out. If you objected to the settlement you are still eligible for compensation.

Opting out means choosing to remove yourself from the Class. Those who choose to opt out will receive no compensation under this settlement. They will however retain the right to bring their own action against Canada at their own cost for harms suffered while in a Federal Indian Day School or a Federal Day School should they so wish.

If you have any questions, please call Class Counsel directly or at the following toll-free phone number: 1 (844) 539-3815.