News Releases and Media Advisories

Telling Your Story helps claimants prepare for IAP hearings

March 26, 2014

Edmonton, March 26, 2013 – The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) has released a new video to help claimants prepare for their hearing in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP).

"Telling Your Story" provides claimants in the IAP with information about what to expect at their IAP hearing," said Dan Shapiro, Chief Adjudicator of the IAP.

The IAP provides compensation to former students for abuse they suffered at Indian Residential Schools. The IAP was established in 2007 under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the largest class action suit in Canadian history. The IAP is a claimant-centred process that supports healing and reconciliation.

Most claims under the IAP are resolved through a hearing, where claimants recount their experiences at Indian Residential School. The hearing is overseen by a neutral adjudicator. Other participants at a hearing can include the claimant’s lawyer, representatives from Canada and from one of the Churches that administered Indian Residential Schools, an elder, an interpreter, a health support worker and a support person for the claimant.

"At the hearing, claimants recall and describe painful events," said Mr. Shapiro. "Many are telling their story for the first time. Claimants often find the experience difficult and emotional. Telling Your Story will help them prepare for their hearing, and reduce the anxiety they may feel before their hearing. If you are a claimant, a family member or a support person for a claimant, this video is for you," he said.

The video explains the rights that claimants have under the IAP, and discusses the roles and responsibilities of participants at the hearing, and all Parties to Settlement Agreement.

The 17 minute English video was produced by BearPaw Communications, an affiliate of Native Counselling Services of Alberta. A 20 minute French version of the video was produced by Forest Communications, an Aboriginal owned company. The videos are available on the IRSSA YouTube channels (English and French). Copies of the videos are also being distributed on DVD so that they are accessible to claimants who live in remote communities with no Internet access. The videos also contain a closed caption option.

The DVD includes a 14 page booklet that provides an overview to the IAP, and information about various aspects of the IAP.

"Claimants in the IAP can expect a fair, impartial, safe, supportive, culturally appropriate and respectful IAP hearing," said Mr. Shapiro.

Staff from the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) are in Edmonton to participate in the Alberta National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) taking place at the Shaw Conference Centre, March 27-30, 2014. Telling Your Story will be screened at the TRC event. Claimants are invited to stop by the IRSSA booth in the Learning Centre (Hall B) for an update on their claim, or to pick up information products about the IAP.

IRSAS is a quasi-judicial tribunal that operates independently from the parties to IRSSA, including the Government of Canada.

As of January 31, 2014, IRSAS had received 37,922 applications for compensation under the IAP. 25,800 cases have been resolved and more than $2.275 billion has been paid out in compensation by the Government of Canada.

Telling Your Story on You Tube


Michael Tansey
Senior Communications Officer,
Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
(613) 851-4587 (cell)
(819) 934-1444 (office)