On Tuesday, the Canadian government and court-appointed representative plaintiffs announced that an agreement-in-principle had been reached in the Federal Indian Boarding Homes class action.
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Over the past four years, the government of Canada and counsel for the plaintiffs tried to resolve this litigation for thousands of Indigenous people who suffered cultural loss and abuse while residing in a boarding home placement overseen by the federal government for the purpose of attending school from Sept. 1, 1951, to June 30, 1992.
"I was taken from my family and community in 1968 when I was 13 years old. The impact on me, and on other kids like me, was devastating. I have spent decades since then, working to heal, to help others, and to explain to the broader community what happened," said Reginald Percival, court-appointed representative plaintiff.
"It has been a long journey but I am gratified by the steps we are now taking, as a country, to acknowledge past wrongs and to move forward together."
"I was in a boarding home after I was in Indian residential school. This has always been a missing part of the process. It is like a cut with a bandage, but half the cut is not covered, and that half is the boarding home experience. We never dealt with the whole experience," said Kenneth Weistche, another court-appointed representative plaintiff for the Quebec sub-group, who was pleased that the agreement was reached.
The agreement-in-principle combined individual compensation for having been placed in a boarding home and compensation for incidents of physical and sexual or other abuse with forward-looking investments to support commemoration, healing, language and culture, said Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada in a press release.
Key elements of the agreement-in-principle included individual compensation of 10,000 Canadian dollars; compensation, ranging from 10,000 to 200,000 Canadian dollars, for incidents of physical and sexual or other abuse while residing in a boarding home placement based on severity of the abuses suffered; and 50 million Canadian dollars will be invested to support the commemoration, healing, language, and culture.
The parties will continue to work together to reach a final settlement agreement in order to seek approval from the Federal Court and this process will unfold over the course of 2023.