The Independent Assessment Process in detail
The deadline for submitting a claim under the IAP has passed.
- If your application was submitted before the deadline, the Secretariat reviews the claim. They may contact the claimant to ask for more information.
- The Secretariat reviews the claim. They may contact the claimant to ask for more information.
- The Secretariat decides if the claim should be part of this Independent Assessment Process and informs the claimant. If the Secretariat decides that the claim should not go through this process:
- They will contact the claimant and give them the reasons.
- They will give the claimant a chance to give more information.
- The claimant can appeal to the Chief Adjudicator, whose decision is final.
- The Secretariat gives the claim a priority – a number for how fast it will be handled. This is mainly based on the claimant's health and age. These are the priorities:
- People who send a letter or form from the doctor saying that their health is failing and further delay would make it hard for them to take part in a hearing
- People who are 70 or older
- People who are 60 or older
- People who have already had an examination for discovery in court
- Claimants who are applying as a member of a group.
Your claim will follow one of two tracks – "standard" or "complex". This allows most claims – the standard ones – to proceed as quickly as possible.
To be in the standard track, the claimant must prove the abuse and the harms "on the balance of probabilities". That means that the Adjudicator is inclined to believe that the abuse happened and the harms are real. The claimant must also show that there is likely a link between the abuse that happened and the harms they still suffer.
The complex track resolves claims of Actual Income Loss and Other Wrongful Acts. The rules of evidence are stricter – the same as a court would apply. Claimants in this track really should have a lawyer. Also, expert witnesses are involved, unless all parties agree to go ahead without them. The Adjudicator holds a pre-hearing teleconference with the claimant and their lawyer to make sure the hearing will go as smoothly as possible.
- The Secretariat does research on the claim. They may ask the claimant to send more documents to support their claim. For instance, they might ask for records about: medical treatment, school, workers' compensation, jail, income tax, or unemployment.
- In some cases, the Government of Canada may offer the claimant and their lawyer to negotiate a settlement without a hearing. The claimant can choose to negotiate or to have the hearing.
- A hearing is held before the Adjudicator. All Adjudicators have special training and experience in resolving disputes. They are independent and neutral. The claimant describes what happened at residential school. The claimant is only questioned by the Adjudicator. Witnesses, alleged abusers, and experts may also give information to the Adjudicator and answer questions. Claimants will not have to come face-to-face with the person they have accused of abusing them.
- The Adjudicator may request the claimant undergo an expert assessment by a doctor or psychologist.
- The Adjudicator decides on the compensation to award.