- More than 28,000 Class Members have been paid over $3 billion in claims, says a final report issued by the Independent Assessment Process Oversight Committee in March 2021.
As part of an ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gowling WLG is canceling all Community Assistance Sessions until further notice to prevent the spread of the virus. Community Assistance Sessions will now be delivered by video conference. According to the Indian Day School class action settlement website, these sessions will provide Claimants with information about the Claims Process and how to complete the Claim Form. All participants should register here for the session tailored to their region. Claimants can also arrange virtual legal support by calling 1-844-539-3815 or by emailing email@example.com.
The Independent Assessment Process Oversight Committee has issued a final report on the Indian Day School Settlement Agreement. Initially, a $1.27 billion class action settlement over allegations of harm suffered by students attending Federal Indian Day Schools in Canada, the final report indicates that the government paid out more than $3 billion to claimants.
“Children as young as three were forcibly removed from their families and communities and taken to the schools,” says the 2021 final report on the settlement. “For most, the residential school system was profoundly negative and had a lasting impact on the children, on their families, and on their culture.”
Those who suffered harm while attending Federal Indian Day Schools and Federal Day Schools, were eligible to file a claim for compensation. According to the final report, Class Members could claim up to $275,000 depending on the harm they suffered.
The Federal Indian Day Schools class action lawsuit, filed in 2009 by plaintiff Garry McLean, took issue with the forced attendance of Aboriginal students at Indian Day Schools throughout Canada.
McLean sought compensation for abuses suffered by students who were forced to attend the Indian Day Schools and were excluded from the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
McLean, who died before the class action settlement was finalized, was reportedly a member of Lake Manitoba First Nation #271 and qualified as a status Indian under the Indian Act. He attended two Indian Day Schools, where he was allegedly a victim and witness to many types of psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
McLean also claimed that students at the Indian Day Schools had their languages, cultures and traditions “actively denigrated” by administrators of the schools. The abuses and denigration of his culture reportedly had a long-term impact on McLean, his family, and his community.
According to court documents, Indigenous students across Canada were required to attend schools after 1920. They were forced to attend schools such as the Federal Indian Day Schools, which were funded, managed and controlled by Canada.
Students who attended the Federal Indian Day Schools allegedly suffered abuse and harm that included verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse.
Approximately 200,000 students have attended Indian Day Schools since 1920. An estimated 120,000 to 140,000 of those students are still alive today, the court documents note.
In March 2019, the plaintiffs announced that they had reached a class action settlement with Canada that would compensate survivors for the abuses they suffered while attending the federally operated Indian Day Schools.
The Indian Day School settlement was reportedly reached after two years of discussions with thousands of Indian Day School survivors, community members, and Indigenous leaders throughout Canada.
Class Members of the Indian Day School settlement include all survivors who attended the federally-run day schools, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis attendees.
The deadline to file objections or statements supporting the Indian Day School class action settlement passed on May 3, 2019. The settlement was approved in federal court on Aug. 19, 2019.
According to court documents, the class action settlement agreement is not an admission of liability by Canada.
In addition to providing compensation to eligible Class Members, the Indian Day School settlement also seeks to help survivors by providing benefits that promote healing, education, reconciliation and commemoration.
Though the claims process is closed, the final report by the Independent Assessment Process Oversight Committee stated that the healing process for survivors continues and stressed the need for changes to society as a whole to address their needs.
“The ongoing effects of residential schools are revealed in the low levels of educational attainment and high rates of unemployment, under-employment, poor health, poverty and suicides among children of survivors,” says the report. “It is shown in the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child welfare agencies and involvement of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.”
Indeed, Edmund M., who survived abuse at an Ontario residential school told CBC News that he and others will continue to speak about what happened and push for Indigenous rights.
“It doesn’t mean that we are finished, that we will stop, just because the [Independent Assessment Process] is going to be terminated,” he told reporters.
You may be eligible for compensation from the Day School class action settlement if you:
- Attended Federal Indian Day School(s) and Federal Day School(s) funded, managed and controlled by Canada, and
- Suffered abuse or harm from teaching staff, officials, students and other third parties at the school.
NOTE: To be eligible for compensation from the Day School settlement, you must not have already received a settlement from Canada for the same or related incidents at a Federal Indian Day School or Federal Day School.
A list of the Federal Indian Day Schools covered by the class action settlement is available here.
$10,000 – $200,000.
The amount of compensation each Class Member may receive depends on the type of harm they suffered while attending a Federal Indian Day School or Federal Day School. Eligible Class Members will receive a payment that reflects the most severe harms they suffered.
Because the Indian Day School settlement recognizes that families and communities were also harmed by the abuses associated with the day schools, it also provides a $200 million Legacy Fund to support health and wellness programs, commemoration projects, and language and culture initiatives for Indigenous communities. Organizations will be able to apply for grants under the Legacy Fund.
Proof of Purchase
Class Members are asked to provide their name, date of birth, contact information, and the name of the day school(s) you attended and years attended. Claimants must also provide a description of any verbal or physical abuse or harm they suffered while attending the day school.
Claimants who experience more significant levels of harm may be required to provide evidence of attendance, such as report cards, class photographs, letters from teachers or principals, or other records documenting their attendance. They may also be required to provide medical, dental, nursing and/or therapy records. Claimants who do not have documentation of enrollment may provide a sworn declaration that they attended the school that is signed by the claimant and a guarantor such as a Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths, Elected Official, Community Leader, or other professional.
Follow the instructions carefully when filing a claim and submit all documentation that is required for your specific situation.
NOTE: If you do not qualify for this settlement do NOT file a claim.
Remember: you are submitting your claim under penalty of perjury. You are also harming other eligible Class Members by submitting a fraudulent claim. If you’re unsure if you qualify, please read the FAQ section of the Settlement Administrator’s website to ensure you meet all standards (Top Class Actions is not a Settlement Administrator). If you don’t qualify for this settlement, check out our database of other open class action settlements you may be eligible for.
Claim Form Deadline
Garry Leslie McLean, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Attorney General of Canada, Case No. T-2169-16, in Canada Federal Court
Indian Day Schools Class Action Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 1775
Toronto, ON, Canada M5C 0A2
Phone: 1 (888) 221-2898
Mary M. Thomson
The Attorney General of Canada
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