Cartwright, Labrador

Cartwright, Labrador

I spoke with my partner, John McKiggan, about the Newfoundland and Labrador Residential School settlement. He represented Nora Bernard, the first person to file a class action lawsuit which led to the Canada-wide Indian Residential School settlement 10 years ago. That process is winding down and John has handled hundreds of claims.

He believes that the Newfoundland and Labrador settlement will be approved in September. The process is described in more detail below but will involve people submitting a claim form to the class action administrator. John McKiggan suggests that anyone who attended the schools involved should speak to a lawyer before filing a claim. “A claimant will only have one chance to get it right”, he said. “The key is a complete and honest claim submission.”

However, because of the personal nature of the abuse and the suppression of memories of traumatic events, it may take several sessions with a counsellor to uncover the whole truth. Claimants and their families should be prepared for the emotional turmoil that will take place when completing the claim forms. An experienced lawyer can help guide a claimant through the process.

If you would like to discuss your claim call us at 1-888-510-3577.

Here are the details of the settlement.

Almost 1,000 Inuit and Metis may be eligible to share $32 million in compensation if the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court approves a settlement reached this week in a class action lawsuit against the Federal government. The suit was launched in 2007 soon after the historic Indian Residential School settlement was announced between Canada and thousands of residential school survivors. Canada refused to acknowledge five northern schools as part of the 2007 settlement. That left the former students of those schools with no option but to start a lawsuit of their own.

Now the Federal government has reached a settlement with former residents of schools in Cartwright, North West River, Makkovik, Nain and St. Anthony run by the International Grenfell Association or the Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador. The settlement must be approved by the court and a hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled for September 27, 28 and 29, 2016 in St. John’s.

The settlement is actually for $50 million but lawyers’ fees and processing expenses are expected to eat up nearly $18 million of that. Anyone who opted out of the class action earlier will not be entitled to share in the settlement. They are free however to pursue individual lawsuits against Canada.

If the settlement is approved, those who have not opted out could be eligible for a payment of between $15,000 and $220,000 if their claim is accepted by the class action administrator who would be set up to handle the claims process. Anyone who attended the school for 4 years or less will get $15,000 plus additional compensation if they suffered physical or sexual abuse. Those who resided there for 5 years or more will receive $20,000 plus additional compensation for abuse suffered. The additional compensation ranges from $50,000 to $200,000 depending on the extent of the abuse suffered.

If the settlemt is approved, you will submit your claim and if the claim is allowed you will wait until all claims have been determined before getting a share of the funds. If your claim is denied, either in whole or in part, you will be able to appeal to an adjudicator who will hear the appeal and decide if you are entitled to compensation and, if so, the amount. The decision of the adjudicator will be final and binding.

Make sure your claim is presented properly. Have it checked by a lawyer. If the claimed is not allowed, or only part of your claim is allowed, you should consult with a lawyer before appealing.

Remember that there will be a deadline by which to file your claim and another deadline for appealing a decision once your claim is reviewed. Don’t miss a deadline. If you do you could lose your right to any compensation.

Congratulations on the settlement. Hopefully it will be approved in September and this part of your ordeal will be behind you soon.

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