Court Decisions and Legal Documents
This section of the IRSAS website provides links to selected court decisions related to the Independent Assessment Process. Numerous other decisions are available on other websites, including CanLII, the Official Court Website of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement and the IAP Decision Database for counsel who are active in the IAP.
IAP counsel who wish to obtain access to the database should send a new account request with their name, email address, and phone number by email to IAPS_Chiefadjudicatorsoffice@irsad-sapi.gc.ca.
Links are provided to the original court decisions, on external websites. In most cases, decisions are available in English only.
Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
The Independent Assessment Process was established by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, a national class action settlement reached in 2006, and approved by the Courts in 2007.
The implementation and approval orders were made in early 2007 by Courts in nine jurisdictions to support implementation of the IAP and resolve issues identified by the supervising courts. All of the implementation orders are available on the Official Court Website of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement
The Implementation Order
The implementation order directs IAP adjudicators to review a claimant’s legal fees, among other matters.
The Approval Order
The Approval Order gives effect to the Settlement Agreement.
Subsequent Court Orders
Several additional court orders have been made to help address issues arising in the IAP, among them:
- The Incomplete File Resolution procedure provides tools to help resolve claims that are not proceeding in the usual process.
- The Lost Claimant Protocol provides tools to help locate claimants who have moved or lost contact with the Secretariat.
The Directives section contains directives, guidance papers and practice directions issued by the Oversight Committee and the Chief Adjudicator.
List of Schools
The following are the Indian residential schools that the IAP will consider for your claim. In addition to these schools, decisions on four applications to add schools to the list under Article 12 of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement remain pending before the supervising courts or Courts of Appeal.Alberta Residential Schools
- Assumption (Hay Lakes), Assumption, Alberta
- Blue Quills (Saddle Lake, Sacred Heart, formerly Lac la Biche), St. Paul, Alberta
- Crowfoot (St. Joseph's, Ste. Trinité), Cluny, Alberta
- Desmarais (St. Martin's, Wabasca Roman Catholic), Desmarais-Wabasca, Alberta
- Edmonton (formerly Red Deer Industrial), St. Albert, Alberta
- Ermineskin, Hobbema, Alberta
- Fort Vermilion (St. Henry's), Fort Vermilion, Alberta
- Grouard (St. Bernard's, Lesser Slave Lake Roman Catholic), Grouard , Alberta
- Holy Angels (Fort Chipewyan, École des Saints-Anges), Fort Chipewyan, Alberta
- Joussard (St. Bruno's), Joussard, Alberta
- Lac la Biche (Notre Dame des Victoire, predecessor to Blue Quills) from 1893 to 1898, Lac la Biche, Alberta
- Lesser Slave Lake (St. Peter's), Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta
- Morley (Stony), Morley, Alberta
- Old Sun, Gleichen, Alberta
- Sacred Heart, Brocket, Alberta
- St. Albert (Youville), Youville, Alberta
- St. Augustine (Smoky River) from 1900 to 1907, Smoky River, Alberta
- St. Cyprian's (Queen Victoria's Jubilee Home), Brocket, Peigan Reserve, Alberta
- St. Joseph's (Dunbow), High River, Alberta
- St. Mary's (Blood, Immaculate Conception), Cardston, Alberta
- St. Paul's (Blood, Anglican/Church of England), Cardston, Alberta
- Sarcee (St. Barnabas), T'suu Tina, Alberta
- Sturgeon Lake (St. Francis Xavier), Calais, Alberta
- St. John's (Wabasca Anglican/Church of England), Wabasca, Alberta
- Whitefish Lake (St. Andrew's), Whitefish Lake, Alberta
- Ahousaht, Ahousaht, British Columbia
- Alberni, Port Alberni, British Columbia
- Cariboo (St. Joseph's, Williams Lake), Williams Lake, British Columbia
- Christie (Clayoquot, Kakawis), Tofino, British Columbia
- Coqualeetza from 1924 to 1940, Chilliwack / Sardis, British Columbia
- Cranbrook (St. Eugene's, Kootenay), Cranbrook, British Columbia
- Kamloops, Kamloops, British Columbia
- Kitimaat, Kitimaat, British Columbia
- Kuper Island, Kuper Island, British Columbia
- Lejac (Fraser Lake), Fraser Lake, British Columbia
- Lower Post, Lower Post, British Columbia
- Port Simpson (Crosby Home for Girls), Port Simpson, British Columbia
- St. George's (Lytton), Lytton, British Columbia
- St. Mary's (Mission), Mission, British Columbia
- St. Michael's (Alert Bay Girls' Home, Alert Bay Boys' Home), Alert Bay, British Columbia
- Sechelt, Sechelt, British Columbia
- St. Paul's (Squamish, North Vancouver), North Vancouver, British Columbia
- Anahim Lake Dormitory (September 1968 to June 1977), Anahim Lake, British Columbia
- Assiniboia (Winnipeg), Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Birtle, Birtle, Manitoba
- Brandon, Brandon, Manitoba
- Churchill Vocational Centre, Churchill, Manitoba
- Cross Lake (St. Joseph's, Jack River Annex - predecessor to Notre Dame Hostel), Cross Lake, Manitoba
- Dauphin (McKay), The Pas / Dauphin, Manitoba
- Elkhorn (Washakada), Elkhorn, Manitoba
- Fort Alexander (Pine Falls), Fort Alexander, Manitoba
- Guy Hill (Clearwater, The Pas, formerly Sturgeon Landing, SK), The Pas, Manitoba
- Norway House United Church, Norway House, Manitoba
- Notre Dame Hostel (Norway House Roman Catholic, Jack River Hostel, replaced Jack River Annex at Cross Lake), Norway House, Manitoba
- Pine Creek (Camperville), Camperville, Manitoba
- Portage la Prairie, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
- Sandy Bay, Marius, Manitoba
- Immaculate Conception (Aklavik Roman Catholic), Aklavik, NWT
- All Saints (Aklavik Anglican), Aklavik, NWT
- Fleming Hall (Fort McPherson), Fort McPherson, NWT
- Sacred Heart (Fort Providence), Fort Providence, NWT
- St. Joseph's (Fort Resolution), Fort Resolution, NWT
- Bompas Hall (Fort Simpson Anglican), Fort Simpson, NWT
- Lapointe Hall (Fort Simpson Roman Catholic), Fort Simpson, NWT
- Breynat Hall (Fort Smith), Fort Smith, NWT
- Grandin College, Fort Smith, NWT
- Hay River (St. Peter's), Hay River, NWT
- Grollier Hall (Inuvik Roman Catholic), Inuvik, NWT
- Stringer Hall (Inuvik Anglican Hostel), Inuvik, NWT
- Akaitcho Hall (Yellowknife), Yellowknife, NWT
- Federal Hostel at Fort Franklin, Déline, NWT
- Shubenacadie, Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
- Chesterfield Inlet (Turquetil Hall), Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut
- Federal Tent Hostel at Coppermine, Coppermine, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Baker Lake, Qamani'tuaq, Qamanittuaq, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Belcher Islands, Sanikiluaq, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Broughton Island, Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Cambridge Bay, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Cape Dorset, Kinngait, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Eskimo Point, Arviat, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Frobisher Bay (Ukkivik), Iqaluit , Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Igloolik, Igloolik/Iglulik, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Lake Harbour, Kimmirut, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Pangnirtung (Pangnirtang), Pangnirtung / Panniqtuuq, Nunavut
- Federal Hostel at Pond Inlet, Mittimatalik, Nunavut
- Bishop Horden Hall (Moose Fort, Moose Factory), Moose Island, Ontario
- Cecilia Jeffrey (Kenora, Shoal Lake), Kenora, Ontario
- Chapleau (St. John's), Chapleau, Ontario
- Cristal Lake High School (September 1, 1976 to June 30, 1986)
- Fort Frances (St. Margaret's), Fort Frances, Ontario
- Fort William (St. Joseph's), Fort William, Ontario
- McIntosh, McIntosh, Ontario
- Mohawk Institute, Brantford, Ontario
- Mount Elgin (Muncey, St. Thomas), Munceytown, Ontario
- Pelican Lake (Pelican Falls), Sioux Lookout, Ontario
- Poplar Hill, Poplar Hill, Ontario
- St. Anne's (Fort Albany), Fort Albany, Ontario
- St. Mary's (Kenora, St. Anthony's), Kenora, Ontario
- Shingwauk (Wawanosh Home), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Spanish Boys School (Charles Garnier, St. Joseph's, formerly Wikwemikong Industrial), Spanish, Ontario
- Spanish Girls School (St. Joseph's, St. Peter's, St. Anne's formerly Wikwemikong Industrial), Spanish, Ontario
- Stirland Lake High School/Wahbon Bay Academy (September 1, 1971 to June 30, 1991)
- Wawanosh Home (January 1, 1879 to August 5, 1892), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Amos (Saint-Marc-de-Figuery), Amos, Québec
- Pointe Bleue, Pointe Bleue, Québec
- La Tuque, La Tuque, Québec
- Fort George (St. Philip's), Fort George, Québec
- Fort George (St. Joseph's Mission, Résidence Couture, Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus), Fort George, Québec
- Sept-Îles (Notre-Dame, Maliotenam), Sept-Îles, Québec
- Federal Hostel at George River, Kangirsualujjuaq, Québec
- Federal Hostel at Great Whale River (Poste-de-la-Baleine), Kuujjuaraapik / Whapmagoostui, Québec
- Federal Hostel at Payne Bay (Bellin), Kangirsuk, Québec
- Federal Hostel at Port Harrison (Inoucdjouac, Innoucdouac), Inukjuak, Québec
- Fort George Hostels (September 1, 1975 to June 30, 1978), Fort George, Québec
- NEW Mistassini Hostels (September 1, 1971 to June 30, 1978)
- Beauval (Lac la Plonge), Beauval, Saskatchewan
- Crowstand, Kamsack, Saskatchewan
- File Hills, Balcarres, Saskatchewan
- Fort Pelly, Fort Pelly, Saskatchewan
- Gordon's, Gordon's Reserve, Punnichy, Saskatchewan
- Lebret (Qu'Appelle, Whitecalf, St. Paul's High School), Lebret, Saskatchewan
- Marieval (Cowesess, Crooked Lake), Grayson, Saskatchewan
- Muscowequan (Lestock, Touchwood), Lestock, Saskatchewan
- Prince Albert (Onion Lake Church of England, St. Alban's, All Saints, St. Barnabas, Lac La Ronge), Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
- Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan
- Round Lake, Stockholm, Saskatchewan
- St. Anthony's (Onion Lake Roman Catholic), Onion Lake, Saskatchewan
- St. Michael's (Duck Lake), Duck Lake, Saskatchewan
- St. Philip's, Kamsack, Saskatchewan
- Sturgeon Landing (Predecessor to Guy Hill, MB), Sturgeon Landing, Saskatchewan
- Thunderchild (Delmas, St. Henri), Delmas, Saskatchewan
- Cote Improved Federal Day School (September 1928 to June 1940), Kamsack, Saskatchewan
- Battleford Industrial School (December 1883 to May 1914), Battleford, Saskatchewan
- Carcross (Chooutla), Carcross, Yukon
- Coudert Hall (Whitehorse Hostel/Student Residence - Predecessor to Yukon Hall), Whitehorse, Yukon
- Shingle Point (Predecessor to All Saints, Aklavik), Shingle Point, Yukon
- Whitehorse Baptist, Whitehorse, Yukon
- Yukon Hall (Whitehorse/Protestant Hostel), Whitehorse, Yukon
- St. Paul's Hostel (September 1920 to June 1943), Dawson City, Yukon
Decisions on IAP records disposition
The Chief Adjudicator has taken action to protect the confidentiality of documents and testimony provided in the Independent Assessment Process.
Justices McLachlin C.J. and Karakatsanis, Wagner, Gascon, Côté, Brown and Rowe JJ., Canada (Attorney General) v. Fontaine, 2017 SCC 47,  2 S.C.R. 205, October 6, 2017
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the promises of confidentiality that were made to claimants in the Independent Assessment Process, and has determined that survivors control their own records. This decision will allow claimants who do not want to disclose the intimate details of the abuse they suffered at Indian Residential School to keep them confidential.
The Supreme Court has decided that claimants, and no one else, control their records from the IAP. The decision also allows claimants to deposit their records with the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) archive, or any other archive. The Chief Adjudicator has always supported the rights of claimants to share an account of the experiences with others, provided they give their consent to place them in an archive for that purpose.
Justices Strathy C.J.O., Sharpe and MacFarland JJ.A., Ontario Court of Appeal, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 ONCA 241, April 4, 2016
The majority decision of the Court of Appeal upheld the supervising judge’s order that the IAP documents should be destroyed 15 years after the end of a claim, unless the claimant has chosen to have them transferred to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The Court of Appeal ordered that the notice program be conducted by the Chief Adjudicator, and that the order also include the Alternative Dispute Resolution process that preceded the IAP.
The Government of Canada has applied for leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Perell, J., Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONSC 4585, August 14, 2014
The supervising judge ordered that IAP records should be destroyed 15 years after the end of a claim, unless the claimant has chosen to have them transferred to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The court ordered that a notice program be conducted to advise survivors of their choice.
Decisions on Document disclosure by Canada (St. Anne’s Indian Residential School)
Decision by Justice Perell on St. Anne's IRS, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONSC 283January 14, 2014
Order by Justice Perell on St. Anne's IRS, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), March 7, 2014
Decisions on Conduct of Legal Counsel and others
Decisions on individual casesAssignment of settlement funds to pay third-party lenders
The Honourable Mr. Justice Donald, The Honourable Madam Justice Saunders, The Honourable Mr. Justice Frankel, Court of Appeal for British Columbia, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2008 BCCA 329, August 21, 2008
The court held that a direction to pay settlement funds to a third-party lender was contrary to the Settlement Agreement and the Financial Administration Act.
Blott & Company
Issues in this case involved the quality of legal representation provided to clients, the facilitation of loans with third parties, and the use of a third-party agency to recruit clients and complete application forms.
- Reasons for prohibiting the further involvement of Blott, David Blott, Honour Walk, Thomas Denomme and certain other parties in IAP proceedings, the Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 BCSC 839, June 5, 2012
- Order by the Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown on Blott DNQ files, Supreme Court of British Columbia, June 29, 2018
Issues in this case involved alleged harassment of claimants by a form-filler employed by Bronstein’s law firm, the provision or facilitation of loans to claimants, as well as the quality of legal services provided.
The Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 BCSC 1968, October 28, 2015.
The court directed that Bronstein reimburse Canada for the amount of $1,250,000.00 as special costs for this matter.
Bronstein merits decision The Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 BCSC 717, May 1, 2015
The court held that Bronstein’s conduct fell below the standard expected of legal processionals representing clients in the IAP, but that Bronstein’s conduct does not require that he be removed from participation in the IAP. The court required Bronstein to continue participating under supervision, and to pay the reasonable costs of the Monitor’s investigation.
The Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 BCSC 595, April 5, 2016.
The court upheld the Chief Adjudicator’s practice of allowing only the claimant’s current lawyer to participate in the legal fee review process.
Justice Schulman, Court of Queen's Bench Manitoba, Fontaine et al. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 MBQB 113, June 4, 2014
Justice J. Perell, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 ONSC 5359, August 25, 2016.
Justice Perell had previously ordered an investigation regarding Mr. Keshen by the Court Monitor, after certain issues regarding interest-free loans to clients and facilitating loans from third-party settlement lenders were brought forward on behalf of the Chief Adjudicator. The Chief Adjudicator did not participate in the RFD after the initial order directing the investigation.
Decision related to legal fees in the IAP Fontaine et al v AG Canada et al, 2015 MBQB 158. This decision addresses the Chief Adjudicator’s Guidelines for legal fees. The court held that the Guidelines are not binding and create no enforceable rights. The court dismissed the RFD seeking to overturn the Chief Adjudicator’s decision on legal fees.
The Honourable Madam Justice B.J. Brown, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 BCSC 1306.
In this case, Merchant Law Group received IAP settlement proceeds in trust, but before the claimant received her award, the firm deducted $21,300 it claimed she owed for unrelated legal matters, including her son’s criminal matters.
The court found this to be an impermissible assignment of IAP funds and ordered Merchant Law Group to pay forthwith to the claimant the amount it had withheld, with interest.
The court found that the diversion of funds offends both Article 18.01 of the Settlement Agreement (which prohibits the assignment of both Common Experience payments and IAP awards) and section 67 of the Financial Administration Act (which prohibits the assignment of Crown debts).
The court agreed with the Chief Adjudicator that the purpose of Article 18.01 is to protect vulnerable class members. While the funds were still in the lawyer’s trust account, the claimant remained in a vulnerable position and was open to being threatened or pressured (as evidenced by the letter from counsel to the claimant) into “consenting” to the redirection of funds.
The court also found that the direction to pay violates s. 67 of the Financial Administration Act. The court agreed with the Court Monitor, that—contrary to the Merchant position—until the settlement proceeds are in the claimant’s hands, the Crown debt has not been paid.
The court noted that its conclusion is consistent with the Chief Adjudicator’s Expectations of Legal Practice in the IAP, setting out what claimants can expect their lawyer to do upon receipt of IAP funds.
General information about Lawyers
For more information on working with a lawyer, see:
- Fact sheet: Getting legal help with your IAP claim
- Fact sheet: Do I need a lawyer for my IAP claim?
- Fact sheet: Legal fees and your IAP claim
For information on resolving problems with a lawyer, see:
- The Chief Adjudicator’s Expectations of Legal Practice in the IAP set out expected norms and practices for all lawyers and other professionals working in the IAP.
Decisions on Individual IAP claims
Justice J. Edmond, Court of Queen's Bench Manitoba, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 MBQB 159, August 3, 2016
This decision addresses the interpretation of one of the definitions of sexual assault in the IAP, the category of “any touching of a student, including touching with an object, by an adult employee or other adult lawfully on the premises which exceeds recognized parental contact and violates the sexual integrity of the student.” The court held that the claimant does not have to prove that a sexual intent or sexual purpose is necessary for compensation in this category. The court returned the claim to an adjudicator for reconsideration. Please note that Canada has appealed this decision to the Manitoba Court of Appeal. The appeal decision will be posted once it is available.
Justice J. Perell, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 ONSC 4326, July 5, 2016
This decision addresses how review and re-review adjudicators should address errors made by the initial adjudicator. The court held that in this claim the initial adjudicator had made an error by using her own personal knowledge as a basis for a finding of fact, and that the review and re-review adjudicators had failed to correct it. The court established a process for the court, or the court’s designate, to decide the matter. Please note that Canada has appealed this decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal. The appeal decision will be posted once it is available.
Justice J. Perell, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 ONSC 4328, July 5, 2016.
The court held (at para 63) that a claimant may apply to the courts only after exhausting the IAP’s review and re-review process. The court adjourned the Request for Direction generally, to be brought on after completion of the re-review of the claimant’s claim.
Madam Justice R. E. Nation, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Fontaine v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 ABQB 225, April 4, 2015
This decision addresses the responsibility of adjudicators to determine when an institution listed in the Settlement Agreement ceased to operate as an Indian Residential School. The court held that adjudicators must have the jurisdiction to look at the evidence and determine whether an institution was operating as an Indian Residential School during the time when the claimant in question seeks compensation. The court also concluded that Grouard was not an Indian Residential School beyond December 1957. The court upheld the adjudicator’s decision.
Justice Schulman, Court of Queen's Bench Manitoba, Fontaine et al v Canada (Attorney General) et al, 2014 MBQB 200, October 9, 2014
This decision addresses the eligibility of claimants to receive compensation for abuse suffered while employed at the school. The court held that the claimant, who was a class member because she had lived at the school as a student, was entitled to compensation for abuse suffered while employed and living at the school. The court overturned the re-review decision and reinstated the review decision.
Justices Rosenberg, Juriansz and Rouleau JJ.A., Court of Appeal for Ontario, Fontaine v Duboff Edwards Haight & Schachter, 2012 ONCA 471, July 4, 2012.
This decision addresses the circumstances in which decisions of an IAP adjudicator may be reviewed by the courts. The court held that the right to seek judicial recourse is limited to very exceptional circumstances, where the final decision of the Chief Adjudicator reflects a failure to comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement or the implementation orders. The court upheld the Chief Adjudicator’s decision.
Seeking Review by the Court
Before you apply to court
Implementation of the IAP is supervised by the courts. In certain circumstances, a party dissatisfied with an IAP decision may be able to apply to have it reviewed by the supervising court.
Before you can apply to court, you must request exhaust all review rights with the IAP – first and second review (re-review) a review of your decision.Fact sheet: Asking for an IAP Decision Review
New form to request decision review
How to apply to court
The IAP involves complex legal concepts and processes. This is why every party who signed the Settlement Agreement encourages claimants to hire a lawyer to help with an IAP claim.
You should consult a lawyer if you are considering applying to the courts. A recent decision in the Ontario Court of Appeal noted that access to the Courts for a review of an IAP decision will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat cannot provide legal advice.
Self-represented claimants who wish to seek judicial review of an IAP decision should consult with their Claimant Support Officer (CSO), who can provide a list of lawyers accepting referrals for IAP claimants. You can reach your CSO by calling the IAP Info Line at 1-877-635-2648.
The Court Administration Protocol sets out the procedure for bringing a Request for Directions to the court.
The Request for Direction Service Protocol sets out how a Request for Direction should be filed with the court, and who should be notified.
All questions regarding applications to the court should be directed to the Court Counsel, Brian Gover:
Brian Gover, Court Counsel
TD North Tower
77 King Street West, Suite 4130
PO Box 140, Toronto-Dominion Centre
Toronto, ON M5K 1H1