The Day Scholars StoryTogether We Will Achieve Justice For Our Day Scholars
Back in Court
Negotiations with Canada for fair and equal compensation for Day Scholar survivors of Residential Schools broke down in February of 2019 after the government refused to deal with Day Scholars survivors on the same terms as other Residential School survivors. Day Scholar survivors now have no choice but to fight their claims out in court at great expense and further delay. The matter is scheduled to go before the Federal Court in Ottawa for trial in April.
A significant step forward in the Day Scholars litigation with the signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, Sechelt and James Bay Cree and the Canadian Government. The memorandum commits the government and the First Nations to resolve this litigation without resorting back to the courtroom and to keep working in the spirit of reconciliation to find a fair settlement in a timely manner.
Ministerial Special Representative (MSR) Appointment
A major step forward in the Day Scholars Class Action was taken on October 24, 2016 with the announcement of the appointment of a Ministerial Special Representative (MSR) for the purpose of negotiating a settlement. The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, made the announcement appointing Thomas Isaac the MSR at the BC Assembly of First Nations Annual General Meeting.
The appointment of an MSR means that the lawsuit will take a new path forward, as both sides prepare their positions for negotiations. Any settlement that is reached will also have to be reviewed by his Honour, Justice Sean Harrington, who is overseeing the Class Action. While the process will take some time, both sides, as well as the court, are committed to moving quickly to find a solution before more survivors are lost to old age.
As of 2016 Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, Sechelt and James Bay Cree are all equal partners in the Certified Day Scholar Class action.
On May 24, 2016 we agreed to enter into negotiations with the Government of Canada.
Class Action Suit is Certified
On June 3, 2015, Federal Court in Vancouver certified the residential school “Day Scholars” class-action lawsuit. Our Day Scholar Class action based upon the common experience of our great loss of our sacred languages and cultures as a result we were certified in federal court as day scholar class action. The TteS SFN & JBC Day Scholar Class Action is in federal court which means that all the day scholars and their descendants plus the 98 Bands that opted into our class action is included. Order Certifying Class Action [pdf]
Class Action Suit Filed
Class Action claim filed in Federal Court on August 15, 2012. The lawsuit aims to close a gap in which thousands of daytime students at residential schools were denied monetary compensation in the government’s 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) in the same manner as students residing in the schools. While the so-called “day scholars” could apply for individual assessment for abuses experienced in school, they were excluded from “common experience” compensation for having attended.
Day Scholars Dialogue Begins
December 26, 2010: Chiefs of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Shishalh Indian Bands began talking in December 2010 and decided to pursue compensation for their day scholars together. Chief Shane Gottfriedson and Chief Garry Feschuk agreed to
join forces and paddle our canoes together to seek justice, healing and reconciliation for our nations.
Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA)
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was an agreement between the government of Canada and approximately 86,000 Aboriginal Canadians removed from their families as children and placed in the Canadian Indian residential school system. The IRSSA recognized the damage inflicted by the residential schools and established a $2 billion compensation package for the victims. The agreement, announced in 2006, was the largest class action settlement in Canadian history.
Residential schools were boarding schools operated by the Canadian government as part of its “aggressive assimilation” policy which sought to assimilate aboriginal children into mainstream European Canadian society by adopting Christianity and speaking English or French. Canada’s residential schools are marred by countless allegations of sexual, emotional and physical abuse of aboriginal children by staff. 150,000 aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend a recorded 130 residential schools across Canada between 1874 to 1996. New research has found at least 3,000 children are now known to have died during attendance at Canada’s disgraced Indian residential schools.