Indian Day Schools Class Action
The Indian Residential School Day Scholars Class Action (Gottfriedson v Canada, Federal Court File No. T-1542-12) was originally brought on behalf of Day Scholars and their descendants. Day Scholars are students who attended Indian Residential Schools during the day but who did not stay overnight. The lawsuit has been amended and now includes a class for Bands (the “Band Class”) in addition to the Individual Day Scholars Class (the “Individual Class”). The lawsuit claims that Indian Residential Schools destroyed language and culture, violated cultural and linguistic rights, and caused psychological harms to members in both classes.
On September 24, 2021, a Federal Court judge approved a settlement agreement for the Individual Class. The Band Class claims are moving towards trial regardless of the settlement agreement. The deadline for Bands to make a decision about joining the class action is quickly approaching (May 31, 2022 at 11:59pm PST).
The “Band Reparations Class Action”
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh are suing the Government of Canada claiming that it is responsible for collective harm that Bands suffered due to loss of language and culture at Indian Residential Schools. This case is scheduled to go to trial in September 2022.
This lawsuit originally included claims on behalf of individual Day Scholars (people who attended Indian Residential Schools during the day but did not stay overnight), and their children. The lawsuit claimed that Indian Residential Schools destroyed language and culture, violated cultural and linguistic rights, and caused psychological harms to individuals. The Federal Court of Canada approved a settlement agreement which resolved these claims and provides compensation to individual survivors. However, this settlement does not include any claims made on behalf of Bands.
Bands Who Wish to Opt-In to the Class Action
Bands were invited to “opt-in” to the class action in 2015, and the Court has now re-opened the opt-in process to allow more eligible Bands to join the Class. Over 100 First Nations have opted in already to the Class Action. For the full list, and for more information, visit this website.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh are asking for monetary relief (“damages”) to compensate individual Bands that opt-in for losses they experienced related to language and culture.
Bands who wish to join the class action must opt-in by May 31, 2022.
The steps to opt-in are:
- Check to see if your Band is eligible (see criteria below).
- If your Band is eligible, someone from the Band who is eligible to make binding decisions must complete the Opt-In Form. Note: Bands that have already opted in do not need to opt-in again.
- Return the Opt-In Form by email or mail to Class counsel by no later than May 31, 2022, at 11:59 pm PST.
Opting-in to the class action has important implications for the Band’s legal rights in the future. For more information, please carefully read the information on this website and in this notice form, or contact a member of our team for legal advice.
To be eligible, your Band must be either
- an Indian Band as defined in s. 2(1) of the Indian Act, or
- a party to a self-government agreement or treaty,
that asserts that it holds rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Your Band must also:
- have or had some members who are or were Indian Residential School Survivors, or in whose community a Residential School is or was located, and
- opt-in by completing the opt-in form and submitting to Class counsel before the opt-in deadline expiry (i.e. is specifically added to this claim in relation to one or more specifically identified Residential Schools).
Individual Claimant Settlement: Eligibility and Claims Process
As part of the Settlement Agreement, Canada is providing funding to compensate eligible day school survivors. To be eligible, a person must have attended any of the Indian Residential Schools listed in Schedule E of the Settlement Agreement as a Day Scholar for any part of a school year. They also must not have already received compensation for that school year as part of the Indian Residential School Common Experience Payment (CEP) or McLean Settlement (Indian Day Schools). For more information, visit this website.
The deadline to submit a claim is October 4, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
Eligible individuals can make a claim online or by mail.
- The online form is available on the Claims Administrator website and can be completed entirely online.
- The paper version is available directly from the Claims Administrator (or you can check with your Band Office). Claimants who complete paper forms will have to mail, email or fax them directly to the Claims Administrator (Deloitte):
Indian Residential School Day Scholars Claims Administrator c/o Deloitte
PO Box 7014
Toronto, ON, Canada M5C 0A9
Note that there are two types of claim forms:
- Day Scholar Application Form (for living Day Scholars)
- Estate Claims Form (if you are an heir or an estate executor, administrator, trustee or liquidator making a claim for a deceased Day Scholar who was alive on May 30, 2005)
 For the purposes of consistency with the eligibility forms, we have used the defined term “Bands” to refer to eligible Indigenous groups: either (1) an Indian Band as defined in s. 2(1) of the Indian Act or (2) a party to a self-government agreement or treaty.