Notices to Counsel

Accelerated Hearing Process

June 27, 2013

The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat is introducing an Accelerated Hearing Process (AHP) to maximize the number of hearings that can be held each week by scheduling non-hearing-ready cases alongside hearing-ready cases, in order to fill a week with hearings in a given geographic area.

The benefits of the AHP include earlier hearing dates for claimants, an increase in the number of hearings that can be held each week and the preservation of the claimant’s testimony.

The AHP is based on many lessons learned from a pilot project to improve the timeliness of hearings for claimants over the age of 65. It was developed based on feedback on the pilot project from legal counsel, adjudicators, representatives from Canada and others actively involved in the management of IAP claims.

The AHP is designed to preserve testimony and meet efficiencies in scheduling non-hearing ready files. Pre-hearing involvement of an adjudicator aims to ready non-hearing-ready files for hearing. However, in many cases, a hearing will be held even though some mandatory documents may not be available. Where required, document collection will continue after the hearing. Final submissions will be heard through a teleconference once all of the mandatory documents have been submitted. Decisions in claims that undergo an accelerated hearing will not be written until all of the mandatory documents have been submitted and final submissions have been made.

The AHP has many checks and balances, including a pre-hearing file management teleconference, to ensure that all participants are comfortable with the process.

Even though AHP hearings may be held before some of the mandatory documents are available, cases that go through an accelerated hearing will be treated with the same level of diligence, thoroughness and fairness as claims that are dealt with under the normal process for IAP claims.

Secretariat staff will begin contacting counsel within the next few weeks to discuss files that are being considered for the Accelerated Hearing Process. Full details on the AHP, including a detailed description of the process and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), are available.

Over the course of the next several months, we will provide additional information and resources to claimant counsel to help you manage your caseload of IAP claims as efficiently as possible.

We will also be making improvements to our website to make it easier to locate the information you need.

In addition, we will be expanding our use of the Integrated File Management System, our on-line database, to make scheduling hearings and managing files more efficient. We will have more information on this initiative in mid-June.

Legal counsel play a vitally important role in the Independent Assessment Process. Indian Residential School survivors depend upon seasoned, competent lawyers to successfully pursue their compensation claims and assist with their healing journey.

IRSAS depends on counsel to keep claims moving, and to provide information to claimants about the IAP and the status of their claims. We are counting on your cooperation as we continually seek to identify ways of making the IAP more efficient.

For further information please contact:

IAP Info Line: 1-877-635-2648