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Indian Residential Schools Settlement

The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is an effort by the Canadian government to address the damage that Indian residential schools caused.

Under the agreement, the government is providing two types of payments to Indian residential school survivors:

  • the Independent Assessment Process (sometimes called IAP), and
  • the Common Experience Payment (sometimes called CEP).

The information below may bring back painful memories. If you become upset, call the Indian Residential Schools 24-Hour National Crisis Line immediately at 1-866-925-4419 (no charge). The crisis line will help you get emotional and crisis services.

Common Experience Payment
Independent Assessment Process
Get legal advice
Get more information

Common Experience Payment

The deadline to apply for the Common Experience Payment has passed. If you attended an eligible Indian residential school (including the Mistassini Hostels in Québec), you may still have options. If you haven’t already done so, talk to a lawyer to find out what your options are. You can find a lawyer through the settlement agreement list or through the Lawyer Referral Service. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society at 1-800-721-0066.

Any student who lived at an eligible school could apply for compensation called a Common Experience Payment.

For more information on the Common Experience Payment, see Service Canada's website, or call 1-866-699-1742 (no charge). If you have difficulty with your hearing or speech, call 1-800-926-9105 (TTY, no charge).

Personal Credits

Indian residential school survivors who got a Common Experience Payment are eligible for Personal Credits of up to $3,000. These credits can be used for a variety of educational purposes. In order to use your Personal Credits you must submit your Personal Credits Acknowledgement Form. This form was sent in the mail to anyone who got a Common Experience Payment.

Once your Personal Credits Acknowledgement Form has been processed, you get a Personal Credits Redemption Form.

You must submit your Personal Credits Acknowledgement Form by October 31, 2014. Your Personal Credits Redemption Form must be post marked no later than December 1, 2014.

To request a form, or for help with filling out your forms, call 1-866-343-1858. If you're hard of hearing, call 1-877-627-7127 (TTY).

For more information, see the Indian Residential Schools Settlement — Official Court Website.

See the Resources section below for more information on who can help you.

Independent Assessment Process

The deadline to apply to the Independent Assessment Process has passed. If you were sexually abused or seriously physically abused  at an eligible Indian residential school (including the Mistassini Hostels in Québec), you may still have options. If you haven’t already done so, talk to a lawyer to find out what your options are. You can find a lawyer through the settlement agreement list or through the Lawyer Referral Service. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society at 1-800-721-0066.

If you were seriously physically abused or sexually abused at an eligible school, you could apply to the Independent Assessment Process for a payment.

For more information on the Independent Assessment Process, see the Independent Assessment Process website. Or call Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s information line at 1-877-635-2648 (no charge), from 8 am – 8 pm (Eastern Standard Time).

See the Resources section below for more information on who can help you.

Get legal advice

It's a very good idea to get a lawyer to help you with your application.

You may be able to use the Lawyer Referral Service. This program lets you meet with a lawyer to discuss your situation:
Greater Vancouver: call 604-687-3221
Outside Greater Vancouver: call 1-800-663-1919 (no charge)

Get more information

See our fact sheet Indian Residential Schools Settlement and our booklet A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement for more information, including:

  • how to apply,
  • details about the two types of payment, and
  • information about who can help you.

See also the Indian Residential Schools Settlement — Official Court Website.

Below are some more links to resources that can help you learn about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement.

LSS resources

Indian Residential Schools Settlement (fact sheet)

A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement (booklet)

Aboriginal community legal workers

Related information resources

Assembly of First Nations — See their document to find out more about the Personal Credits that are available to people who received a Common Experience Payment.

Indian Residential Schools Settlement – Official Court Website. This website has links to the settlement agreement, the list of eligible Indian residential schools, lawyers, court notices, and updates.

Service Canada – Common Experience Payment (CEP) — The Service Canada website has information about applying for the CEP. You can also call 1-866-699-1742 (no charge).

Independent Assessment Process (IAP) — This federal government website has information on all aspects of the IAP. As well, you can call the IAP information line at 1-877-635-2648 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (eastern standard time).

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development — Resolution Sector — This website has detailed information about the settlement agreement. You can also call 1-866-879-4913 (call no charge).

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada — This website provides information about the Commission's mandate and links to its reports and publications.

Surviving the past — This website has basic information about legal options for people who suffered abuse in Indian residential schools.

Assembly of First Nations —This website includes some information about Indian Residential Schools.

Lawyer Referral Service — Available in many communities, the Lawyer Referral Service is a program that lets you meet with a lawyer to discuss your legal problem.
Greater Vancouver: 604-687-3221
Outside Greater Vancouver: 1-800-663-1919 (call no charge)

Related support resources

Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society — Provides support for Indian residential school survivors. Call 1-800-721-0066 (no charge). For emotional assistance, call 1-800-925-4419 (no charge, 24 hours a day).

National Indian Residential School Survivor's Society — Aims to act as a national voice for Indian residential school survivors. Call 1-866-575-0006 (no charge).

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC — Provides culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people involved in the criminal justice system.

Intertribal Health Authority — Provides wellness and mental health services for Indian residential school survivors.

Tsow-Tum Le Lum Society — Provides programs that support survivors of trauma and Indian residential schools.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation — Has links to resources although the Foundation is no longer funding healing projects.

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program —This Health Canada program provides mental health and emotional support services. Call 1-866-925-4419 (call no charge, 24 hours a day).

The Health Canada regional coordinator can connect you with mental health services. Call 1-877-477-0775 (no charge).

VictimLink — Provides counselling and information 24 hours a day. Call1-800-563-0808 (no charge).

Victims Info — An online resource for victims and witnesses of crime in BC.

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Who can apply for payment under the agreement?

If you're an Indian residential school survivor and you didn't opt out of the class action by August 19, 2007, you will be covered by the settlement agreement.

However, the settlement agreement only applies to eligible schools.

The settlement agreement also does not apply to:

  • day school students, or
  • students who were boarded out.

What if I opted out of the settlement agreement?

If you opted out of the settlement agreement but you still want to take legal action against the person or people who assaulted or abused you, you have a couple of options through the civil or criminal justice system. See the LSS booklet A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement for more information.

You may also be able to get financial assistance through the Crime Victim Assistance Program.

What if I wasn't an Indian residential school student, but was assaulted or abused at an Indian residential school?

If you weren't a student or didn't live at the Indian residential school, but:

  • you were assaulted on the school property, or
  • abused on the school property,

you may still be able to apply for compensation through the Independent Assessment Process. See the LSS booklet A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement for more information.

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