Implementation under way for Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
WINNIPEG, Sept. 19 – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, and Minister Responsible for Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, and Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, today announced the Implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
“Significant care has gone into achieving a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of the Indian Residential School system – a resolution that will ensure former students and Canadians can move together towards healing and reconciliation,” said Minister Strahl. “I am pleased to mark today as truly special and memorable, as our historic Settlement Agreement comes into effect and can now be implemented.” “Today, our thoughts are first and foremost with the former students of Indian Residential Schools who have waited decades for this moment,” National Chief Phil Fontaine said. “The Assembly of First Nations worked diligently with and for former students to ensure this agreement is fair and comprehensive. It is not just about compensation. It is about helping people heal. It is about justice. It is about reconciliation. This agreement will help First Nations and Canada to move out from under the long shadow of residential schools.”
Starting today, applications for the Common Experience Payment will be mailed to all former students of Indian Residential Schools who have requested one. They will also be available through all Service Canada Centres and on-line at servicecanada.gc.ca.
The Settlement Agreement provides for a Common Experience Payment to be paid, upon application and verification, to eligible former students of Indian Residential Schools. The Agreement also includes an Independent Assessment Process for claims of sexual or serious physical abuse, as well as measures to support Healing, Commemoration, and the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Over the next four years, former students of Indian Residential Schools will be able to submit Common Experience Payment applications to Service Canada. The deadline for submission of applications by eligible individuals is September 19, 2011.
Service Canada’s responsibilities include: helping former students obtain and fill out their CEP applications; accepting their completed applications; and processing payments for applications approved by IRSRC. Service Canada’s staff will assist former students in-person through community outreach and any of its 328 Service Canada Centres, online at servicecanada.gc.ca and through its toll-free CEP line (1-866-699-1742 or TTY 1-800-926-9105).
On May 10, 2006, Canada’s New Government announced the conclusion of the final Settlement Agreement. It includes:
For more information on the Implementation of the Settlement Agreement, please refer to the attached background documents.
For further information: Philippe Mailhot, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, (819) 997-0002; Valérie Haché, Media Relations Coordinator, Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, (613) 947-5024