Settlement reached with Indian Residential Schools Day Scholars 

News release

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June 9, 2021 — Ottawa, Ontario — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced that a settlement has been reached with Survivor and Descendant Class Members in the Gottfriedson Indian Residential Schools Day Scholar class action.

Although Day Scholars were able to seek compensation under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement for physical and sexual abuse suffered while attending Indian Residential Schools, unlike residents, they were not able to seek compensation for the experience of attending Indian Residential Schools, as they returned to their homes at night. 

The signing of the agreement marks an important milestone for Day Scholars. It recognizes the harm suffered as a result of their experiences while attending an Indian Residential School.

The settlement agreement combines individual compensation for harms experienced in attending an Indian Residential School as a Day Scholar with forward-looking investments to support healing, wellness, education, language, culture, heritage and commemoration for Survivors and Descendants.

Over the past several months, the Government of Canada and counsel for the plaintiffs have been engaged in negotiations to resolve this litigation in a fair, compassionate and respectful manner that promotes healing and reconciliation. To ensure that the aging survivors receive compensation in their lifetime, the parties have agreed to separate the Band Class claims in order to focus on the resolution of the Survivor and Descendant classes. 

Canada is continuing the work of righting wrongs and supporting healing from the intergenerational impacts of Residential Schools that are still felt today. We are working collaboratively to renew our relationship with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation based on the affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership, which is fundamental to advancing reconciliation.

Quotes

Today’s announcement takes us another step closer to bringing meaningful resolution and healing for Day Scholar survivors and their descendants. After years of advocacy, this agreement is a testament to their persistence, dedication and resilience, and their courageous efforts should be recognized. Canada is committed to reconciliation and laying the foundation for multi-generational healing—we will continue to work with survivors on righting historical wrongs.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations 

 

“I am proud that we stood up for ourselves and for our people, and that now, after many years, our experiences are being recognized and compensated.”

Diena Jules, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff,
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

“To me, this settlement means Canada is finally recognizing that Day Scholars also suffered at Residential Schools. We are finally glad to see this recognition 14 years after the Residential School settlement.”

Charlotte Gilbert, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff,
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

“No one lawsuit can change what happened to my father, or to us as his children. It cannot replace what we have lost. But my hope is that this settlement announced today can help put us on a good path towards healing and towards revitalizing our languages and cultures so that my children and grandchildren will speak Sháshíshálhem and be proud upholders of our culture.”

Rita Poulsen, Daughter of a Day Scholar and Descendant Class Representative Plaintiff, shíshálh Nation

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Ani Dergalstanian
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819-997-0002

Jessie Sitnick
Argyle
416-859-8250
jsitnick@argylepr.com

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca

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