My Records My Choice website will remain open after IAP ends
January 27, 2021
The My Records My Choice website, which provides information to former residential schools students about their options for their IAP or ADR records, will remain open after the closure of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS).
The Secretariat, which manages the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), will close on March 31, 2021. The IAP was set up in 2007 under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to resolve claims of serious physical, sexual or emotional abuse suffered at Indian Residential Schools. A total of 38,276 claims were submitted under the IAP.
In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that claimants controlled their records in the IAP and its predecessor, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. “This was a pivotal moment in the IAP in terms of keeping our promises to claimants that their records were confidential, and that they would not be archived without their consent,” said Dan Shapiro, Chief Adjudicator of the IAP.
Following the Supreme Court decision, the Secretariat set up the MyRecordsMyChoice.ca website to provide information to claimants so they could choose what would happen to their records. The website will be available until September 19, 2027. A toll-free information line (1-877-635-2648) will also remain open after the Secretariat closes.
Claimants can opt to receive a copy of their records, preserve them in an archive set up at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, or do nothing. The records of claimants who do nothing will be destroyed after September 19, 2027.
Eighty-nine percent (89%) of former students who submitted a claim received compensation after a hearing or a negotiated settlement with Canada. The Secretariat held over 26,000 hearings, giving claimants an opportunity to tell a neutral adjudicator about their experiences at residential school.
“As an adjudicator, I was always impressed by the resilience shown by IAP claimants,” said Dan Shapiro. “I know that a lot of them found their hearing to be a very difficult experience, since many were speaking about their experiences for the first time. As an adjudicator, I was often shocked and disturbed to hear of the abuse they endured, but I know that sharing their experiences has been an important and necessary part of reconciliation.”
The Government of Canada paid over $3.2 billion in compensation to claimants, with an average award of just under $92,000.
The Secretariat is currently wrapping up its work in preparation for its closure on March 31, 2021.
“I would like to thank all of the staff and adjudicators who worked on the IAP,” said Shapiro. “Without their hard work and commitment, this tremendous achievement would not have been possible. We were all honoured to walk with those former students and to be part of their journeys.”
Anyone who did not submit an application to the IAP and feels they still have a claim against the Government of Canada because of abuse suffered at a government-run school should consult a lawyer.