Settlement Agreement reached in Band Class Litigation
Canada has signed an agreement with the Representative Plaintiffs who represent the 325 bands that have opted into the Band class litigation. Through this settlement, Canada is committed to addressing the collective harm caused by the residential schools system and the loss of language, culture, and heritage.
2021 Day Scholars Settlement Agreement
This settlement builds on the 2021 Gottfriedson Day Scholars settlement. In 2021, to ensure compensation could be received by an aging class of Survivors in their lifetime, Canada and the plaintiffs agreed to separate the Band class and focus on the Survivor and Descendant classes. The Day Scholars settlement provides individual compensation to Day Scholars who attended a residential school but did not reside at the institution. The settlement also created the Day Scholars Revitalization Society to fund healing, wellness, education, heritage, language, culture and commemoration activities for Day Scholars and their Descendants.
Details of the Band class settlement agreement
As part of the Band class settlement, Canada will provide $2.8 billion to be placed in a not-for-profit trust to support healing, wellness, education, heritage, language, and commemoration activities. This trust, independent of the Government, will be guided by the Four Pillars developed by the Representative Plaintiffs.
The Four Pillars include:
- Revival and protection of Indigenous languages;
- Revival and protection of Indigenous cultures;
- Protection and promotion of heritage; and
- Wellness for Indigenous communities and their members
The not-for-profit charged with administering the trust will have a permanent board consisting of nine directors, all of whom must be Indigenous. Members of the not-for-profit entity will elect the directors in accordance with its by-laws, articles of incorporation and the Governing Corporate Statute. More specifically, three of the directors must be approved by each of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, shíshálh Nation, and the Grand Council of the Crees in advance of election or appointment. Five directors will be appointed based on regional representation and must be a member of the band class member (one director for each of BC/Yukon, Alberta/NWT, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec/Ontario/Atlantic provinces). One director will be advanced by Canada. This director will not sit as chair, vice-chair and will not act as chair for any meeting.
The funding disbursement plan, developed by the plaintiffs, outlines an initial amount of $200,000 for each band class members to support the development of a funding proposal that reflects the objectives and purposes of the Four Pillars. These proposals will be reviewed by the not-for-profit board and used to support the disbursement of the Initial Kick-Start Funds, totaling $325 million. Each Band class member will receive a share of annual investment income that is available.
Over the next month, further information on the terms of the settlement will be publicly available as part of the broader notice plan. The parties are expected to appear before the Federal Court on February 27, 2023, to seek approval of the terms of the settlement. The Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the class members.
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