Individual compensation announced for Indian Day Schools survivors

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett called the proposed agreement a historic step forward

The government has reached a proposed settlement with former Indian Day Schools students that would compensate each survivor $10,000, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett announced Tuesday.

Those who experienced physical and sexual abuse at the schools are also eligible for additional compensation of between $50,000 and $200,000 based on severity.

Bennett called the proposed agreement a historic step forward, adding Canada is committed to righting historical wrongs in the spirit of reconciliation.

“This agreement will bring us one step closer to a lasting and meaningful resolution for survivors … of this dark and tragic chapter in Canada’s history,” Bennett said.

The proposed settlement follows discussions between the government and parties in a class action lawsuit originally filed in 2009 on behalf of Indigenous people and their families who attended Indian Day Schools.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Garry McLean, died of cancer about one month ago.

“We are all so sad that he didn’t live to see this day,” Bennett said, acknowledging that his “courage” and “advocacy” paved the way for the settlement.

READ MORE: B.C. Grade 8 student pens letter to premier on residential schools

Nearly 200,000 Indigenous children attended more than 700 federally operated Indian Day Schools beginning in the 1920s, where many endured trauma, including, in some cases, physical and sexual abuse.

Indian Day Schools operated separately from the Indian Residential Schools system and were not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement approved in 2006.

Many Canadians are aware of the tragic legacy of Indian Residential Schools, Bennett said, but many still do not know the history of the Indian Day Schools.

“Although children who attended Indian Day Schools did leave school at the end of the day, many students experienced trauma and were subject to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of individuals who had been entrusted with their care,” Bennett said.

“Due to government policies, children were denied the opportunity to speak their language and were forced to abandon their culture.”

Harms continue to be passed down through generations of Indigenous families and communities, she said.

The court will consider comments made by the members of the class action, submissions made by their legal counsel and the government to determine whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the class members, Bennett said.

“It is my sincere hope that this will be the start of a successful healing process for all of those involved,” she said.

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

RCMP cease patrols on Morice West Service Road

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

What’s happening: Coronavirus forges on, as world hunts solutions

Japan closes all elementary, middle and high schools until spring holidays in late March

RCMP to stop providing security for Prince Harry and Meghan

Public safety minister says RCMP has been helping UK police intermittently since November

Should you shave your beard to stop COVID-19? The U.S. CDC has a guide

Facial hair could be a big no-no if COVID-19 reaches pandemic status

First arrests made at BC Legislature after Wet’suwet’en supporters spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Son, 5, dies in hospital after crash that killed dad, older son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Most Read