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.

Just Posted

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

Prince Rupert man who killed foster parents in 2017 receives three-year sentence

A Prince Rupert man convicted in the deaths of his foster parents… Continue reading

Reflections on reporting in Burns Lake

As some readers know, this is my last column for Lakes District… Continue reading

New rent contract for Lakes Artisan Centre

The Lakes Artisan Centre has a new rental agreement in place for… Continue reading

Council mulls industrial park water, sewer line bid

The Burns Lake village council is bringing back for consideration a proposal… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Infants should be tested for autism if older siblings are diagnosed, Canadian study suggests

Blood test for infants with sibling who’s been diagnosed would get information to families earlier

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Bag of cocaine left in B.C. grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

RCMP officer was justified using hose in rooftop standoff: B.C. watchdog

Police watchdog finds officers actions reasonable when man injured in 2018 incident

Cannabis ice cream? Province prepares for B.C. Bud edibles

Mike Farnworth’s special police unit takes down dispensaries

Union for parole officers at B.C. halfway house says public safety at risk

Increase in parole officers’ workload dealing with highest-risk offenders raises concern

Most Read