Day school survivors who miss deadline to apply for compensation could get 6-month extension

They will have to file a form explaining why they were unable to meet original timeline

First Nations children stand outside St. Paul's Indian Day School in North Vancouver. Photo: Indian Residential School & History Dialogue Centre

Survivors may get another six months to apply for compensation from the Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreement if they miss next week’s deadline to apply, according to a notice posted online.

That would give survivors until Jan. 13, 2023 to submit their applications.

“About 150,000 people have filed their claims, which exceeds the third-party actuarial estimates of 120,000 to 140,000 claims,” says the notice on the settlement agreement’s website.

“That said, it was anticipated that some people will miss the claims deadline.”

Confirmation of a new deadline is expected next week. If approved, the date would be three years from the start of the claims process and four years from the publication of the court-approved settlement agreement, the notice adds.

The settlement provides compensation for emotional, physical and sexual abuse from $10,000 to $200,000 through a  level of harms numbered from one through five.

Survivors would need to complete an “extension request form” to explain why they were unable to meet the original deadline of July 13, 2022.

$1.47-billion settlement

The $1.47-billion settlement with Canada was approved on Aug. 19, 2019.

It applies to students who attended 699 federally run Indian day schools or day schools between 1863 and 2000. Another 680 day schools were excluded from the settlement.

The day schools were part of the same federal assimilation policy as Indian residential schools and similarly run by religious personnel. But day schools were not included in the earlier residential schools settlement agreement – where students lived away from the families – despite survivors reporting they suffered the same abuse and cultural losses.

“We will continue to monitor and consider the number claims as well as extension forms filed,” the notice adds.

“In the interim, class members continue to be urged to file claims before the July 13, 2022 deadline.”

The settlement makes lawyers available to help survivors complete their applications at no charge. The lawyers’ services are covered by the legal fees paid by the settlement.

Meanwhile, another class-action lawsuit is in the works for survivors who attended schools that are excluded from the day schools settlement.

Editor’s Note: The headline of this story was adjusted on July 14, 2022.

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