Governance of the Independent Assessment Process

The Independent Assessment Process was established as one of the components of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the largest class action settlement in Canadian history.

The Settlement Agreement established two governing bodies that set overall direction of the IAP. They are the Oversight Committee and the National Administration Committee. In addition, the Courts also supervise the administration and implementation of the IAP.

The Oversight Committee is led by an independent chair and made up of eight people who represent the parties that signed the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement: the government, the churches, the lawyers representing claimants and Indigenous organizations. The Committee recruits and appoints the Chief Adjudicator and all other Adjudicators on behalf of the court.

The Oversight Committee guides and provides advice on the IAP to ensure that it operates according to the direction sets out in Schedule D of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. It also makes recommendations to improve the process. The committee helps the Chief Adjudicator by giving advice.

You can learn more about the work of the Oversight Committee by reading its Meeting Minutes

The National Administration Committee is made up of lawyers who represent each of the following groups:

  • Government of Canada
  • Church organizations
  • Assembly of First Nations
  • The National Consortium
  • The Merchant Law Group
  • Inuit representatives, and
  • Independent counsel

The National Administration Committee’s role is to oversee the implementation and administration of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Courts. It may seek necessary court orders as well as ensure there is national consistency in the implementation of the Settlement Agreement.

The Committee strives to make decisions by consensus. Where consensus is not achieved, decisions require a majority vote of five members. Where a decision requires increased funding, the Government of Canada must vote in favour.

In terms of the IAP, the National Administration Committee makes sure the Government of Canada has provided enough money and resources to make the IAP work effectively. The Committee also reviews and advises on any changes to the IAP that the Chief Adjudicator or the Oversight Committee may propose.

You can learn more about the work of the National Administration Committee on the Official Court website of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement.

Nine provincial and territorial superior courts approved the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007. The court supervises the administration and implementation of the IRSSA to ensure that it delivers the promised benefits to the class members. When parties to the Settlement Agreement have problems with the way the IRSSA has been interpreted, they can apply to the court for direction on how to proceed.

The judges of the nine courts are designated as Supervising Judges. Supervising judges’ responsibilities include:

  • Hearing applications to add institutions to the list of Indian Residential Schools under Article 12 of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
  • Hearing appeals from decisions of the NAC with respect to the eligibility for CEP
  • Hearing Requests for Direction submitted by parties involved in the IAP

You can access Court decisions that are relevant to the administration and governance of the Independent Assessment Process on the Decisions and Court Document section of this website.

Occasionally the Chief Adjudicator, the Oversight Committee and the National Administration Committee issue instructions on the interpretation and application of the IAP model.

  • Guidance Papers outline suggested procedures to adjudicators and parties to a claim for dealing with issues that have arisen in the administration of the IAP.
  • Chief Adjudicator’s Directives (CADs) are official notices of instruction to adjudicators and parties to a claim that must be followed; they can set deadlines and frame specific policies and procedures to deal with issues of concern.
  • From time to time, the Chief Adjudicator issues Practice Directives, to assist legal counsel who represent claimants in the IAP.