Quebec chief ends challenge to day school class-action settlement

“This is a positive step forward for survivors in allowing the settlement to proceed.”

Children play on the grounds of the Alberni Indian Residential School. Photo courtesy: Tseshaht First Nation

It’s an early Christmas present for thousands of plaintiffs involved with the Mclean Day School class-action settlement agreement.

A Quebec Indigenous leader has dropped his challenge of the proposed suit.

“On December 18, class counsel received a letter on behalf of Chief Paul-Émile Ottawa from his lawyer,” said an update on the website of the lawsuit.

“The letter states Chief Ottawa does not intend to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his first appeal. It also expresses his intent to discontinue his second appeal.”

Read more: Federal Indian Day School Class Action

The recent legal intervention by Chief Ottawa, of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, halted the settlement process and upset many of the plaintiffs, estimated to be between 120,000 and 140,000 in number.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation as adults for abuse they suffered as children in the federally run residential school system. Day school students attended classes then returned home at night because they lived nearby.

The chief’s appeals suspended the claims process, which the federal government agreed to settle by paying victims between $10,000 and $120,000 each.

Move to implementation 

The update Thursday said lawyers were confident they “can now begin to move on towards implementation.”

However, they would have to meet with the court to get an official date for when claims can be submitted.

“This is a positive step forward for survivors in allowing the settlement to proceed,” the update added, noting it will likely be early in the new year.

“Class counsel is now in communication with the Federal Court on next steps for opening the claims process.”

Former students have 2.5 years from the implementation date to submit a claim.

Both the Assembly of First Nations and a representative plaintiff, Margaret Swan of Manitoba, appealed to Chief Ottawa earlier this month to drop his legal challenge.

They suggested survivors, many of whom are elderly and infirm, has suffered enough and shouldn’t be made to wait any longer.

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.


1 thought on “Quebec chief ends challenge to day school class-action settlement

  1. Yup, only an idiotic Chief would stop a process of this sort from happening, though I too attended day school, I’m told I’m not illegible , because I attended day school at the Beauval Indian Residential School which was operated by the Federal Government, but was off an Indian Reservation at the time, It was called Laplonge High when it changed hands from an off reserve Residential School to an Inside Indian Reservation School in 1988, but it don’t matter at least I got a six year settlement for serving time at the Beauval Indian Residential School from 1959 to 1962. That is no reason for me to stall things for others, though probably I have a good challenge.

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