News Releases and Media Advisories
IAP hearings to be complete by Spring 2016
March 6, 2014
Regina, March 6, 2014 -- The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat expects to complete hearings for claimants in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) by the Spring of 2016, Chief Adjudicator Dan Shapiro announced today.
"Despite the high number of applications received - close to 38,000, more than three times what was expected - the IAP has made substantial progress in resolving claims," said Shapiro. "As of January 31, 2014, we have resolved 25,800 claims while providing a high-quality, personal, and claimant-centred hearing process that aims to support claimants in their healing journey," he said. Another 12,122 claims remain in progress.
The IAP is a claimant-centred process that provides compensation to former students for abuse they suffered at Indian Residential Schools. It was established under the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. The IAP operates independently from the parties to the Agreement, including the Government of Canada.
The announcement coincides with the release of the IAP Completion Strategy, which was filed with the Supervising Courts in January 2014. The Strategy provides an overview of the progress made to date in the IAP, and outlines the Chief Adjudicator's proposed plan for resolving the remaining IAP caseload in a fair, impartial and claimant-centred manner.
The Completion Strategy highlights the numerous measures the Secretariat has adopted to increase the number of claims that can be processed each year. These include:
- Expediting hearings for elderly or frail claimants.
- Using an accelerated hearings process to make the hearing process more efficient by scheduling "blocks" of hearings wherever possible to allow more hearings to be scheduled.
- Working with agencies that hold the medical, employment and other documents that are required to support IAP claims to reduce the delays often encountered in producing and disclosing these documents.
The Secretariat has also submitted a proposed Incomplete File Resolution (IFR) procedure and a "Lost Claimants" protocol to the Supervising Courts, along with the Completion Strategy.
The IFR procedure is designed to resolve cases that are stalled and have no reasonable possibility of concluding with a hearing without additional measures being applied. The procedure will involve intensive case management by an adjudicator. It includes safeguards at every stage to protect the claimants' rights.
The Lost Claimants Protocol outlines pro-active measures to contact so-called "lost claimants". Every effort will be made to locate or contact them, all the while striving to protect their confidentiality.
Parts of both the IFR process and the Lost Claimants protocol are subject to approval by the Courts.
"I am pleased with the headway we are making at resolving cases in the IAP," said Shapiro. "While our progress is never fast enough for claimants who are waiting for a hearing, we are on track to hold about 4,200 hearings in 2013-14, a near record number for the Secretariat in a single year. We plan to hold 4,500 hearings in 2014-15, with the remainder taking place in 2015-16."
The Secretariat expects that all claimant first hearings will be held by the spring of 2016, and that all post-hearing work will be finalized by spring 2018, with final close-up activities after that.
Senior Communications Officer,
Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
(613) 851-4587 (cell)