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TORONTO – Two survivors of a notorious Indian residential school will now have to wait several more months to find out whether the courts will even allow them to press their abuse compensation case.
However, they won’t be on the hook for the government’s legal bills at this stage of the proceedings, a justice decided Wednesday.
At a brief hearing, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell said it’s an open question whether he has the jurisdiction to hear them out on the substantive issues before him.
Part of that answer, Perell said, will likely come from the Court of Appeal, which last week sided with the federal government in a separate case related to another Indian residential school. However, the top court has yet to give written reasons for its decision.
Among other things, they want Superior Court to order a full-scale inquiry into why records of a criminal investigation and prosecutions arising out of abuse at the school were only disclosed under court orders in 2014. As a result of the non-disclosure, they say, some former students were unfairly denied compensation under settlement of a class action related to the Indian residential school system.
The next hearing is now scheduled to take place March 24, provided the Appeal Court releases its reasons by Feb. 15. It will focus solely on whether Superior Court has jurisdiction to grant Metatawabin and K-10106 the orders they want — based on documents already filed.
Two survivors of a notorious Indian residential school want the courts to ensure they aren't forced to foot the government's legal bills if they lose a complex case involving hidden police documents and a dispute over compensation for the abuse they say they suffered.
The government, however, was set to argue at a hearing on Wednesday that the request for a no-costs guarantee should be rejected out of hand.
By way of "preliminary relief," they want assurances they won't have to pay a potentially massive legal bill if their quest fails. Nothing doing, says the government.
TORONTO -- The courts had no right to order compensation for a former altar boy, who was denied payment despite being raped by a priest at an Indian residential school, the federal government argued Monday.
The man's claim was properly rejected under the independent assessment process set up to deal with such claims, the government said, and judges have no right to interfere.
The problem, the adjudicator decided, was that the Indian residential school in Spanish, Ont., had already closed when the abuse occurred. She based that determination on her view that M.F. would have been too young to have been an altar boy when the school was still open.
In July, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell found the process had failed M.F. and had amounted to a "patent miscarriage of justice."
Among other things, Perell found, the initial adjudicator had no right to lean on her own notion of how the Catholic church worked in determining whether he had been an altar boy at the time in question. The review and re-review failed to fix that mistake, Perell found.
Perell, who noted a government document that bolstered the claim turned up after the court case was started, ordered M.F. be compensated.
Coughlan did say the government had already agreed to having the adjudicator rehear the case because of the document, but said it never agreed to allow the courts to assume jurisdiction and substitute their own settlements -- except in "very exceptional" circumstances.
"It [the IAP] has delivered justice to tens of thousands of people," Schulze said. "There are no floodgates."
Perell's decision, the lawyer said, was not a "fundamental criticism" of the assessment process, but rather a sign of how well it has worked for most victims.