Residential school day scholars reach settlement with Canada

Residential school survivors known as day scholars, along with their descendants, have reached a settlement with Canada as part of a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012 by Tk’emlups te’ Secwepemc and shíshálh Nation in B.C.

Each eligible survivor gets $10,000 and there’s another $50 million for what’s called the Day Scholars Revitalization Fund “to support healing and linguistic and cultural reclamation for Day Scholars and their children.”

Day scholars attended residential schools but went home at night because they lived nearby. They’re not to be confused with day school survivors who attended schools that were open only during the day.

They didn’t qualify for the original common experience payment as part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

Day scholars later sued Canada, and because they were left out of the common experience payment the judge, that certified the class-action, agreed it also opened the door for bands to sue for lost of culture and language.

There are currently 105 bands suing for reparations and that part of the lawsuit will continue on its own after both sides agreed to split the class-action months ago. It’s scheduled to go trial September, 2022.

Canada denies in court documents there was a single residential school policy or that it’s liable for the severe damage to First Nations because of residential schools.

“While the federal government may have contributed to those losses in various ways, such losses were not as a result of any unlawful acts or omissions of Canada or its employees or agents with respect to the operation of residential schools,” Canada said in an updated statement of defence filed in 2019.

The Federal Court still has to approve the settlement and survivors will be able to provide the court their thoughts on the proposed deal beforehand.

Investigative Reporter

Kenneth Jackson is an investigative reporter in Ottawa, Ont. with more than two decades in the business. He got his start in community newspapers before joining the Ottawa Sun in 2007 where he worked the police beat. In 2011, Jackson joined APTN to break the Bruce Carson scandal. The former senior aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried using his contacts in the federal government to sign water deals with First Nations. The RCMP would charge Carson with influence peddling based on APTN’s reporting. The case would make it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which upheld his conviction in 2018. In recent years, Jackson has focused, almost exclusively, on the child welfare system in Ontario. The work has earned multiple awards, including the 2020 Michener Award.