The Grand Council of the Crees

Residential Schools Bulletin # 6

Residential Schools Bulletin # 6

Posted: 2007-04-03

This bulletin contains the latest information on the residential school settlement.

  1. Settlement Approval Judgments
  2. In the last bulletin, we informed you that all of the judges had rendered their decisions, but that some of them had some concerns about the way the settlement was to be implemented.

    These issues have now been dealt with to the satisfaction of the judges. There was a final court hearing on March 8, 2007 at which all the judges were present either in person or by conference call. Diane Soroka attended this hearing to monitor the proceedings.

    The final approval date was on March 21, 2007 and now we have entered the opt-out phase of the procedure.

  3. Appeals Concerning Fees
  4. As you may have heard, there was an appeal filed by Canada concerning the fees to be paid to Merchant Law Group. The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled on the issue on March 30, 2007. It decided that, under the settlement agreement, Merchant Law Group would get a minimum of $25 million and could get up to a maximum of $40 million.

    This will NOT have an impact on the amount of money available to survivors as the legal fees come out of a separate fund.

  5. Timing of Implementation
  6. As mentioned above, we are now in the "opt-out" phase of the process. This is the period of time during which survivors must decide whether they want to take part in the settlement or whether they want to "opt-out" of it. The opt-out period will last until August 20, 2007 in order to give everyone enough time to get advice as to whether or not they might want to opt-out.

    Opt-out forms are now being made available. BE VERY CAREFUL. THESE ARE NOT APPLICATION FORMS. If you sign one of these forms, you will not get any money from the settlement.

    WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT NO ONE SIGN ANY FORMS UNLESS THEY HAVE LEGAL ADVICE.

    If you are unsure whether or not to sign a form - don't sign.

    The opt-out period will end on August 20, 2007. If fewer than 5000 people opt-out, the settlement will be implemented, probably some time in October. That is when the application forms will become available.

    If more than 5000 people opt-out, Canada can decide to cancel the whole agreement and there will be no settlement.

  7. Community Information Tour
  8. We are pleased to report that it looks as though funding will be available for Matthew Coon Come and Diane Soroka to make another community information tour. This will take place during the opt-out period so that people will have the information they need to make their decisions as to whether or not they want to opt-out or whether they want to take part in the settlement.

    The communities will be contacted to set the dates for the meetings which will probably take place during the months of May-July, depending on availability of people in the communities.