By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Residential school day scholars are now able to submit a claim for compensation from the Canadian government for their experiences in the residential school system.
The deadline to submit a claim is October 4, 2023.
A day scholar is an Indigenous person who attended a Canadian Residential School during the day, but did not sleep there. It is also important to note that these children experienced the same destruction of language and culture as every other child who was forced to attend the schools.
In October last year, the Federal Court of Canada approved a settlement for a class-action lawsuit against the federal government by residential school survivors who were left out of a 2006 settlement agreement involving compensation for those who attended the schools.
The Day Scholar Settlement includes individual compensation of $10,000 and a $50 million Day Scholars Revitalization Fund that will be support healing and culture reclamation.
A form can be filled out online or a physical copy can be sent to the claims administrator.
Survivors are also not required to share any of their experiences at the schools.
Councillor Selina August, of the shíshálh Nation, said of the journey, “Ever since Day Scholars were excluded from the common experience payment of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in 2005, Day Scholars from our community have been advocating for justice.”
“[The] shíshálh Nation is proud to have supported Day Scholars along with Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and the Grand Council of the Crees in their struggle to include the excluded.”
“As a member of the Descendant Class myself, I have grown very passionate about attaining justice for Day Scholars. I thank the Day Scholars and particularly the Representative Plaintiffs who took on the burden of this fight on behalf of Day Scholars across Canada,” concluded August.
To see if you are eligible for compensation, please visit the list of schools which had or could have had day scholars here.
If a Day Scholar has passed away on or after May 30, 2005, then a claim can be submitted on their behalf by the estates executor, administrator, trustee, or liquidator — or if there aren’t any of the aforementioned people, the claim can be submitted by the highest priority living heir.
If you need help determining if you are eligible for compensation, or have any other questions regarding the class action and settlement, contact Class Counsel at [email protected] or call 1-888-222-6845.
Diena Jules, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff, said of the settlement, “Today is an historic day.”
“After having been left behind for so many years, the experiences of students who attended Residential Schools as Day Scholars are finally being recognized, and Day Scholars can finally apply for compensation. I encourage all of my fellow Day Scholars to apply as soon as possible,” she said.
Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to Class Members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, and Hope for Wellness Hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or online at www.hopeforwellness.ca.