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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.
Q: What is the Federal Indian Day School settlement all about?
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Q: The term “Indian” is outdated, not inclusive, and even offensive.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?
Q: What rights do I give up, if any, by agreeing to the settlement?
Nothing in the proposed settlement agreement prohibits you from bringing a suit against any other entity or organization for harms you experienced.
Q: Who is eligible for the settlement?
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?
For First Nations, we recommend you visit the link for further information on estate executors and administrators: https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032357/1100100032361. For all other inquiries (Inuit, Métis, and non-status), phone numbers for the Regional Offices can be found here:
1-800-567-9604 OR 1-902-661-6200
1-800-567-9604 OR 1-800-263-5592
1-604-775-7114 OR 1-604-775-5100
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?
Q: I attended an Indian Day School, but I’m not sure who ran it. Am I eligible?
Q: What if I also attended a Residential School and received a Common Experience Payment from the Residential School settlement? Can I still apply?
Q: What if I objected to the terms of the settlement before the settlement was approved? Am I 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 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?
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?
Q: What does the settlement include in terms of compensation?
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?
Q: When can I expect to receive compensation?
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?
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: What is the Implementation Date?
The Implementation Date will be confirmed and shared on this website in the coming weeks.
Q: Will the Claims Process be complicated or difficult?
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?
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?
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: Will my compensation be taxed or have an impact on insurance payments, pensions, social assistance, etc.?
The Settlement Agreement provides that there should not be an impact on benefits including social assistance, OAS, and CPP. (See 5.06 of Settlement Agreement)
The Government of Canada has committed to working with provincial and territorial governments, and federal departments to ensure that any payment that claimants receive will not affect the amount, nature, or duration of any social benefits received. Similar efforts were successful with respect to the Indian Residential School Settlement payments and we will continue to raise this issue with Canada.
Payments from this lawsuit are not taxable. Payments from the McLean Day School Class Action compensate for abuse and harms at Federal Day Schools. The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) makes it clear that litigation damages for personal injuries are not taxable income. Further, they will not impact social benefits.
Old Age Security and its Supplement
There will be no impact. The Old Act Security Act defines income in accordance with the Income Tax Act. Litigation payments for personal injury, including psychological harm, are exempt from the Canadian Revenue Agency’s definition of income.
The OAS pension is a monthly payment available to seniors aged 65 and older who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements. Low-income seniors are also eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement which is added to OAS. Neither will be impacted.
There will be no impact. Eligibility for CPP is based on age and contribution to CPP by working in Canada. It is not based on present income levels but contributions over the beneficiaries’ lifetime.
Q: What assistance will be provided to support me or my community in the Claims Process?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Q: How are the lawyers getting paid?
Q: What is the Legacy Fund?
Q: How do I apply for the Legacy Fund?
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?
Q: Do you have a list of which Day school(s) I attended?
Q: How can I differentiate a Federal and a Provincial Day school?
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?
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?
If you cannot obtain medical, dental, nursing, or therapy records, you can provide a Sworn Declaration included on Part 5F of the Claims Form.
Q: There is a 90-day opt-out period. What does it mean if I choose to opt out?
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?
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.