Federal court approves interim payment to eligible ’60s Scoop survivors

12,500 eligible survivors will receive interim payments of $21,000 to start

Compensation cheques will soon be in the mail for eligible ‘60s Scoop survivors after a new payment scheme was approved Monday.

The federal court agreed funds can flow to 12,500 survivors whose claims are already approved as part of a $750-million class-action settlement agreement for First Nation and Inuit adoptees.

The group can expect to receive an interim payment of $21,000 and the balance of $4,000 at a later date.

“We recognize the huge emotional toll this process and delay has had on Applicants,” said Doug Lennox of Klein Lawyers.

“Under these circumstances, the fair and necessary thing to do was to make sure no one’s application is denied while we’re still in this period of uncertainty.”

34,000 people

Originally, no claims were to be paid until all were reviewed, approved and a final number shared with the federal government. More than 34,000 people applied for compensation.

But pressure from advocacy groups citing financial worries during the COVID-19 pandemic sent lawyers back to court to make new arrangements.

The ‘60s Scoop was a wave of adoptions from 1951 into the ‘80s when social workers removed First Nations, Inuit and Métis children from their families and placed them in non-Indigenous homes across Canada and the United States. The settlement agreement compensates only First Nations and Inuit survivors.

“Class Members deserve and are owed justice,” Lennox added in the release.

“The interim payment is about keeping that process of justice moving. It’s the right thing to do.”

Scoop Legacy

Katherine Legrange, volunteer director of The 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada, said some survivors are in desperate need of an initial payment.

“We are also grateful that the court (and law firms) heard the concerns of the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada and the class, and worked towards a swift resolution,” she said in an email to APTN News.

“We will continue to advocate for those still waiting for a decision on their application, and for the Métis/non-status survivors/adoptees who continue to wait for an agreement.”

In the meantime, survivors still waiting for their claim to be approved need to wait a bit longer.

Lennox said federal, provincial and territorial offices that supply critical adoption records and closed during the pandemic are slowly reopening.

Not denying

“We want Applicants to know that, while the Administrator is not denying any claims right now, they are still doing the work to approve them. Those efforts may be more difficult because of the pandemic, but they are happening.”

He said survivors whose claims were rejected in February 202o and March 2020 should get back in touch with class counsel for legal advice at no charge.

“We can review your claim and offer guidance that may help you demonstrate your eligibility,” he said in the release. “We are here to give you the support you are owed.”

Lennox noted lawyers are still waiting for the Ontario court to approve the interim payment order.

And, he said all parties will return to court at a later date to seek an order for when the balance of the initial interim payment will be made.

“I honour the strength of every person who is going through this process,” he added.

“We are fully committed to keeping you as informed as possible through this uncertain time. We are grateful for your patience.”

More information: sixtiesscoopsettlement.info

Update: Following Monday’s announcement from the Federal Court, the Ontario Superior Court has approved a similar interim payment order. This means the administrator, Collectiva, will start issuing payments to eligible class members  and those survivors can expect to receive them over the next few weeks and months. 

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.