Polly Jack directs national Aboriginal figure Phil Fontaine to his seat at a meeting on the subject of Indian Day Schools in Duncan in 2011. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Indian Day School survivors can now submit claims for $10K-$200K in compensation

Anyone who is part of the class action is being encouraged to start the process now

There is finally a claims process open for survivors who suffered harm while attending “Federal Indian Day Schools” and “Federal Day Schools”.

Compensation can range from $10,000 to $200,000.

According to Hailey MacKinnon, of Argyle Public Relationships, who sent the Citizen an update this week on the Indian Day School Settlement, survivors can now take the next step in their journey by submitting a claim for compensation.

To get started, survivors can visit www.indiandayschools.com or call 1-888-221-2898. Members of this class action suit will have two and a half years to submit their claims for compensation. The last day to submit a claim will be July 13, 2022.

“Class counsel is encouraging all survivors to review the claim form, available on the Indian Day School website, to prepare their submission,” she said.

The approved settlement provides direct compensation for eligible survivors, in the range of $10,000 to $200,000, as well as support for families and communities through the establishment of a $200 million Legacy Fund.

To be eligible for direct compensation, a person must have suffered harm while attending one of the Federal Indian Day Schools or Federal Day Schools funded, managed and controlled by Canada, as listed on Schedule K.

A completed claim form can be submitted to the claims administrator in the following ways:

To: Indian Day Schools Class Action Claims Administrator, c/o Deloitte

• By mail: PO Box 1775, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5C 0A2, or

• By fax: 416-366-1102, or

•By email: indiandayschools@deloitte.ca

After waiting many years for justice and recognition, the opening of the claims process is a major milestone in many survivors’ lives.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to class members 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness Hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or online at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, on request.

Plaintiffs are expressing their satisfaction at seeing this slow-moving case finally shift into gear.

“I am glad to finally reach this stage of the process and am hopeful that this settlement will help survivors and their families,” said Angel Sampson of the Tsartlip First Nation. “No amount of money will ever take away the memories of our experiences, but perhaps it can create new and better ones for us all. If Canada can acknowledge what we endured, in what was a very dark time of its history, then we can all make sure this never happens again.”

Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin elder who has dedicated her legal career to promoting First Nations rights, says, “This compensation is an important next step in the process of healing and revitalizing our languages, cultures and traditions. Not only does this settlement recognize the harm Indian Day Schools did to our languages and culture, it also validates the significance of First Nation languages and cultures for our people. First Nation people hold to the belief that our languages and cultures are our inherent gifts given to us by our Creator, and we must ensure our languages and cultures will forever be here for our children, grandchildren and our future as the Original and First people of this country.”

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