Assembly of First Nations Bulletin
AFN Residential School Survivors Update - September 23, 2005
More information can be found on the AFN’s website at www.afn.ca
As you know, on May 30 2005, the Assembly of First Nations signed a Political Agreement with the Federal Government regarding the speedy resolution of all residential school issues. Over the past two months we have been actively involved in negotiations with the Federal Government’s appointed representative, former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci. As part of those negotiations, the AFN called for an immediate payment for the sick and elderly, a lump sum payment for all individuals who attended residential schools, and a better method of obtaining further compensation for those who are survivors of sexual or physical abuse. Those negotiations have not been concluded. It is not clear what the final agreement will look like.
We remain optimistic that a fair and just resolution of all issues will be reached. We are encouraging all parties at the negotiation table to be fair and to work hard toward reaching an agreement before March 31, 2006. This is the date set by the Political Agreement by which Frank Iacobucci must report to Cabinet with a settlement proposal.
One of the questions we are frequently asked is whether survivors, who have not yet hired a lawyer, should do so in order to be included in the settlement. The answer is no. The negotiated settlement, if successful, will apply to all former students (whether they have a lawyer or not), and will entitle all former students to receive a lump-sum compensation.
You do not need to hire a lawyer in order to ‘qualify’ for the lump-sum payment, if such a payment will be awarded. The AFN strongly recommends that individuals who have not yet hired a lawyer, wait to do so until the issues relating to the settlement are finalized.
If and when a settlement is reached, the AFN will provide all communities and survivor groups with information about whether a lawyer should be hired, and about legal fees. The AFN is working hard to ensure that if a settlement is reached, it would result in fair fees and equal treatment to all former students.
Many of you have already hired a lawyer. It is important to understand that as a client, you are the boss, and you have the final say on all matters that relate to your case. Your lawyer must act in your best interest, and must inform you, on an ongoing basis what your options are, so you can make the correct decisions.
We thank you for your support and patience as we proceed through negotiations for a fair and just resolution of the Indian Residential School legacy.
___________________________________________________________________ Assembly of First Nations - 473 Albert Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 5B4 | www.afn.ca