Judge signs off on residential school day scholars settlement

 The claims process should open by early December.

The former Grouard Residential School in Alberta. Photo: Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre


Warning: The information here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 for support.

 

The claims process is not open yet, but a judge has signed off on the Day Scholars Class Action settlement agreement.

Justice Ann Marie McDonald approved the settlement as “fair, reasonable and in the best interests” of class members and their descendants.

The court’s decision was released Sept. 24.

This makes the fourth lawsuit Canada has settled to compensate thousands of survivors of its notorious Indian residential schools system that operated for more than a century.

Day scholars and day students (who settled the Federal Indian Day School Class Action in 2019) were forced to attend residential schools during daylight hours but could return to their own homes at night.


READ MORE: 

Proposed settlement for day scholars of residential schools to go before judge in September


They’ve told the courts they suffered the same harms as students forced to live at the schools.

But they were left out of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement of 2006.

Former shishalh chief Garry Feschuk and former T’kemlups chief Shane Gottfriedson initiated the day scholars settlement on behalf of the Kamloops and Sechelt bands of British Columbia more than a decade ago.

“Once we are ready to proceed with compensation, there will be a simple claims process,” Feschuk explained in a news release Monday.

The “simple forms” should be ready once a 60-day appeals window closes. Claimants won’t need to provide any information about their experiences at residential schools.

Were alive

Eligible claimants who were alive as of May 30, 2005, can apply for a one-time, individual payment of $10,000 that covers psychological harms and loss of language and culture.

There are an estimated 12,000 to 25,000 day scholars.

The settlement also establishes a $50-million legacy and healing fund, similar to other settlement agreements.

The settlement agreement, settlement notice, and list of schools can be found at the Justice for Day Scholars website and on Facebook.

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.