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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 caused by Indian residential schools. 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.
If you were seriously physically abused or sexually abused at an eligible school, you were able to apply to the Independent Assessment Process for a payment.
The deadline to apply to the Independent Assessment Process has passed.
If you were sexually abused or seriously physically abused at an Indian residential school and haven't yet talked to a lawyer, call a lawyer on the settlement agreement list to find out what your options are. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivors' Society. The society can also provide information and emotional support.
For more information on the Independent Assessment Process, see the Independent Assessment Process website, or call the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s information line at 1-877-635-2648 (no charge), from 8 am – 8 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
Any student who lived at an eligible school was able to apply for compensation called a Common Experience Payment.
The deadline to apply to the Common Experience Payment has passed.
If you attended an eligible school and haven't yet talked to a lawyer, call a lawyer on the settlement agreement list to find out what your options are. Or call the Indian Residential School Survivors' Society. The society can also provide information and emotional support.
Talk to a lawyer or advocate to find out what your options are. (See the Resources section below for more information on who can help you.)
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).
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, a program that 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)
For more information, including:
- how to apply,
- details about the two types of payment, and
- information about who can help you
see the LSS fact sheet Indian Residential Schools Settlement and the LSS booklet A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement.
Below are some more links to resources that can help you learn about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement.
Indian Residential Schools Settlement (fact sheet)
Related information resources
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).
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.
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.