UPDATED: FSIN Communique – Indian Day School Class Action Update
The FSIN was invited to present on the proposed Day School Settlement Agreement to members of our Nation on April 12, 2019 at the Justice building and Health invited Kirkby Law to present on April 11, 2019 at the Veterans Memorial Centre. At both presentations, the lawyers working on behalf of the FSIN and Kirkby noted several areas of concern in the agreement and a large number of objection forms were submitted from our nations members. The objection forms do not mean that we don’t want a settlement agreement, they only mean the settlement agreement is not fair and that it needs work. The settlement agreement is only a “proposed” agreement and the federal court is required to approve the agreement before it can be administered.
Chief Petit and Councillor Gardipy attended the Day School settlement hearing in Winnipeg on May 13th – 15th, 2019. Many survivors and lawyers advocated for changes to the agreement. The parties, Canada vs Gowlings, agreed to make three changes: 1) extended the opt out period from 60 days to 90 days after agreement is finalized, 2) extended the claims period from 12 months to 30 months, 3) amend the agreement to allow for assistance with filling out claims forms with the fees for the assistance to be taken from the settlement amount. Although this is a step in the right direction, many other core areas of concern were not addressed.
A Band Council Resolution was signed by BOCN leadership at a Council meeting on May 10, 2019, the BCR states our opposition to the proposed agreement and outlines specific areas of concern with the agreement. We are hopeful that changes will be made to the agreement prior to its finalization. The court is expected to release a decision on the proposed agreement within the next couple of months.
View the BOCN Band Council Resolution 2019-2020-004 objecting to and challenging the Day School Settlement Agreement.
Indian Day School Class Action Update
Q & A Document – Indian Day School Settlement Agreement
(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive has completed 19 community consultation meetings between April and May in regards to the proposed Mclean Day School Class Action settlement agreement.
On March 12, 2019, a proposed settlement agreement was announced by Minister Carolyn Bennett. The Settlement Approval Hearings took place in Winnipeg Federal Court on May 13th -15th, 2019. Suvivors and lawyers spoke out against this agreement as it stands. Justice Phelan reserved his decision, neither approving or denying the Settlement. His decision is expected in the next 2-3 months.
Saskatchewan is expected to have the highest number of Day School claimants in the country.
The Settlement Agreement today covers 5 levels of abuse with claims ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. Unlike the Indian Residential School claim, there will be no IAP or CEP base payments. This is strictly a paper-filing claim that must be done by the survivors. Depending on the level of abuse, it is the survivors sole responsibility to collect and submit their own supporting documentation that satisfies the ‘Validation Criteria’. This essentially ‘proves’ the abuse happened. Survivors must send their completed applications and supporting documentation directly to the Claims Administrator.
If claims are deemed ineligible or denied at a higher level, survivors can request reconsideration and a third-party assessor. There are no gurantees appeals will be reversed upon reconsideration.
Gowling WLG, the class action counsel, will receive $55 Million within 30 days of the court approval. Gowling WLG will also receive another $7 Million over 4 years. Gowling WLG has not offered a plan for providing face-to-face legal services to the estimated 140,000 day school survivors. Gowling WLG does not have an office located in Saskatchewan and they are they only firm authorized in Canada to handle this file and offer legal services. Survivors wishing to hire their own legal counsel will need Federal Court approval and pay out of pocket.
It is our understanding from consulting with legal counsel and survivors that the Mclean Settlement Agreement sets our survivors up to fail. The FSIN Executive has pushed for changes and amendments to key areas of concern. These include:
- No Disclosure Requirements
- No Right to Own Legal Counsel
- Barriers in Document Collection
- No Support Services
- Broad Wording and Terms
Several Saskatchewan Nations have signed BCR’s objecting to this agreement and have brought forward their own challenges against it. The FSIN has filed a Motion to Intervene that was dismissed by Justice Phelan.
An indepth briefing note will be included in your Assembly Packages and delivered next week.
For more information, please contact the Office of the First Vice Chief.