The Grand Council of the Crees

Residential School Settlement Update Bulletin #10

Posted: 2008-02-05

INFORMATION ON THE INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT PROCESS

Individuals who suffered certain types of abuse while at a residential school are entitled to apply for the Independent Assessment Process ("IAP").

There are several important things you should know about this process.

1. What kinds of abuse are covered?

The IAP will compensate for severe physical abuse, any kind of sexual abuse, or other wrongful acts which caused serious psychological harm committed by adult employees of the government or a church entity which operated the IRS in question, or other adults lawfully on the premises.

In some circumstances, the IAP will also compensate for severe physical assaults or any kind of sexual assault committed by a student on another student.

2. Which students are covered?

Compensation can be claimed under the IAP by anyone who was a student or resident at a residential school who suffered the kinds of abuse described above.

However, you do not have to have lived at the residential school, and you do not have to have been a student at the residential school in order to claim compensation under the IAP.

This is because the IAP can also cover anyone who was under the age of 21 and was permitted by an adult employee to be on the premises to take part in authorized school activities and who suffered the kinds of abuse described above. So, for example, someone who was on a visiting sports team at a tournament who suffered the kind of abuse described above while visiting a residential school could make a claim under the IAP.

3. Filling out the form

The form for the IAP takes several hours to fill out. It is quite complex and it requires a lot of information. This is because the IAP is not just about what happened at the school; it is also about how it affected your life afterwards. It is important to be able to tell about all of the abuse. If you are not able to do so, you should wait, and perhaps get some counseling, before filling out the form and submitting your application.

To fill out the form properly, each individual should also be able to list the following things:

  1. all his/her education, including adult education, manpower upgrading etc., including the educational institution, years attended etc.
  2. medical history including any treatment/counselling for drug/alcohol problems or any other problems, any major medical problems etc. with names of hospitals, doctors, treatment centers etc.
  3. work history from the time he/she got out of school on a year by year basis. This would include if they were in the bush, on income security, social assistance, part-time or full-time jobs, including their employers and the approximate amount of money earned.

Most people will find it difficult to remember all of this, so it would be easier for them to take their time and start trying to put together the information before setting up a meeting with a lawyer. If they can't remember all of it, they should list what they do remember. Sometimes the spouse, or other friends/ family members can help with listing education, employment and medical information. This is why we suggest people take their time and try to get this done as much as possible before setting up an appointment to fill out the IAP form.

4. What if no one witnessed the assault?

Many people have asked whether they can make a claim even if there were no witnesses to the assaults they suffered. The answer is yes. As a matter of fact, it is very rare that anyone actually witnesses a sexual assault, because perpetrators usually choose a time and place when they know they will not get caught committing the assault.

5. Are the hearings like going to court?

There are a number of differences between an ordinary court hearing and an IAP hearing. Here are a few of them.

IAP hearings are private - they are not open to the public like regular court hearings.

The person making the decision is called an Adjudicator", instead of a judge.

At an IAP hearing, the lawyers do not ask questions. Only the Adjudicator asks questions. When the Adjudicator makes his/her decision, it will be in writing, but all the names will be blacked out so the contents will remain private.

The IAP hearings are meant to be less stressful than regular court hearings. However, it can still be a difficult process and you should not undertake it until you are ready to talk about your experiences.

6. What is the deadline?

IAP claims should be filed before September 19, 2011.