In the News

Below is a list of articles, with summary, about Indian residentials schools, the IAP and other related news.

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Court asked to bar residential-school survivors compensation claims from being heard by independent adjudicator

Publication: The Globe and Mail - June  25, 2018

More than 100 people who say they were abused at an Indian residential school could have their claims for compensation thrown out this week because their lawyer, who was disbarred in 2014 for his mishandling of similar cases, determined years ago that they do not qualify for an award.

Ian Pitfield, a former British Columbia Supreme Court justice, will ask the B.C. Supreme Court to declare that 147 claims marked “do not qualify” by disgraced Calgary lawyer David Blott be permanently withheld from the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which was established to set the compensation levels for former students who suffered actual physical and sexual abuse.

June  26, 2018

Mixed feelings after residential school survivors met with Ontario law society, advocate says

Publication: CBC News - June  25, 2018

A residential school survivor and long-time social justice advocate in northwestern Ontario says he had "mixed" feelings after leaving a meeting held last week in Lac Seul First Nation with the Law Society of Ontario.

The meeting was so the regulator of the legal profession in the province could share the results of a review it undertook into how the law society deals with Indigenous people who file complaints against lawyers. The report stated the regulatory body needs to be more "culturally competent" moving forward, and made several recommendations for change.

"[They were] difficult discussions but what needed to be said was said," Garnet Angeconeb told CBC News. "Hopefully we move forward in a way that we can improve in how Indigenous issues are dealt with by the law society." "Again, difficult but much-needed dialogue happened on Monday."

The law society's look at itself and its pledges to change came after the regulator's probe into the conduct of Kenora lawyer Doug Keshen, who was accused by more than a dozen residential school survivors of mishandling their claims received from Canada's Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

June  26, 2018

Court-appointed official moves to 'forever' bar 147 residential school cases from compensation hearings

Publication: CBC News - June  21, 2018

A court-appointed official tasked with transferring thousands of residential school cases from a disgraced Calgary law firm wants 147 claims barred from ever entering abuse compensation hearings despite evidence some could qualify for payouts, according to recent filings.

Retired B.C. judge Ian Pitfield requested the B.C. Supreme Court rule the 147 cases be "forever barred" from entering the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which was created by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to set compensation levels for survivors who suffered abuse, according to a June 6 filing.

June  21, 2018

Law Society of Ontario review finds regulator needs to be more culturally competent

Publication: CBC News - June  18, 2018

A report by a special review panel into the way the Law Society of Ontario deals with Indigenous people has found the provincial regulator needs to be "more culturally competent," and the organization is pledging change.

Top officials with the law society are scheduled to be in Lac Seul First Nation, near Sioux Lookout, Monday to meet with residential school survivors, elders and other community leaders to discuss the report.

The review came in the wake of the regulator's probe into the conduct of Kenora lawyer Doug Keshen, who was accused by more than a dozen residential school survivors of mishandling their claims received from Canada's Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

June  19, 2018

Diocese of Rupert s Land elects coadjutor bishop

Publication: Anglican Journal - June  18, 2018

Archdeacon Geoff Woodcroft, the incumbent at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Fort Garry in Winnipeg, was elected coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Rupert’s at an electoral synod Saturday, June 16.


Woodcroft says his first goals as bishop will be to get to know clergy and their families, to reach out to rural areas and to promote reconciliation. “What permeates everything we do is the spirit and drive towards reconciliation.”

Woodcroft is an associate of Rupert’s Land Indigenous Council and was an Anglican representative at the Independent Assessment Process hearings as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, listening to the stories of settlement claimants and offering, if invited, statements of apology.

He says he has learned a lot from Indigenous elders. “I think I am a better person because I know that I have to be on a path of reconciliation.”

June  19, 2018

Survivor calls First Nation living conditions ‘shame and disgrace’ as Canada commemorates residential school apology

Publication: APTN News - June  11, 2018

As the Trudeau government commemorated the 10th anniversary of Canada’s apology to residential school survivors Monday, one survivor criticized Canada’s reconciliation efforts.

Evelyn Korkmaz, a Cree survivor who attended St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., spoke ahead of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett at a news conference on Parliament Hill.

“Canada has a moral [obligation] to improve the lives of their First Peoples,” said Korkmaz. “There’s no excuse whatsoever for our reserves to have undrinkable water, mold-infested housing, poor health care, high suicide rates, and addiction. “This is a shame and a disgrace to Canada.”

In a written statement ahead of the commemoration event, Bennett called the Harper government’s June 11, 2008 apology a “historic milestone in our journey toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.”

But Bennett said more needs to be done. “True and lasting reconciliation cannot be achieved through any one single agreement, and that the settlement agreement is not a complete answer to the wrongs of the past of the challenges of the present.”

The 2008 settlement included an official government apology, and to date Canada has financially compensated almost 38,000 survivors a total of $3.1 billion.

June  12, 2018

I don’t trust anybody: St. Anne s survivor feels betrayed, as federal government seeks $25K from lawyer

Publication: APTN News - June  11, 2018

A former St. Anne’s Indian Residential School student says she has lost faith in Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett after learning the federal government is seeking thousands of dollars in legal fees from a lawyer representing the survivors.

Angela Shisheesh, who attended the Fort Albany, Ont. school infamous for using a homemade electric chair as punishment and entertainment, said she thinks the federal government is warning other lawyers to back down from defending Indigenous people in court.

“I don’t trust anybody anymore,” Shisheesh says.

In a rare legal move, the federal government is seeking $25,000 in legal costs from lawyer Fay Brunning, who has been representing St. Anne’s students for years.

June  11, 2018

Shot across the bow: Federal government seeking $25K in legal fees from St. Anne s residential school lawyer

Publication: APTN News - June  08, 2018

The federal government is seeking $25,000 in court fees from an Ottawa lawyer representing the survivors of St. Anne’s Indian Residential School – a rare legal move that critics say is meant to strike fear into other lawyers fighting claims. 

For years, Fay Brunning has been representing survivors of the notorious Fort Albany, Ont. residential school known for operating a homemade electric chair. 

The horrific sexual and physical abuse of Indigenous students at the school has long been the subject of criminal and civil proceedings. 

Among the lawsuits, St. Anne’s survivors have been fighting for access to secret documents they argue are relevant to their compensation claims. 

June  08, 2018

Some Catholic orders still withholding promised residential school records

Publication: CBC News - June  04, 2018

Some Catholic orders have still not turned over promised records to the research centre created as a repository for the documented history of residential schools, according to a memo provided to CBC News.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is still waiting to receive about 3,000 residential school-related photographs from the Grey Nuns of Montreal, along with historical records from the Oblates of Grandin Province, based out of St. Albert, Alta.

The centre, which is housed at the University of Manitoba, is also missing the school narratives — summarized histories— of eight residential schools because two orders, the Sisters of St. Ann and the Sisters of Charity of Providence, have refused to sign waivers allowing for their transfer to the centre.

The centre was created by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. It currently holds about 5 million residential school related records and about 7,000 survivor statements.

June  04, 2018