Notices to Self Represented Claimants
March 6, 2014
On January 28, Chief Adjudicator Dan Shapiro of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat filed three important documents with the Supervising Courts for the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA):
- Bringing Closure, Enabling Reconciliation: a plan for resolving the remaining IAP Caseload (Completion Strategy)
- Incomplete File Resolution (IFR) procedure
- Lost Claimants Protocol
Please take the time to read all three documents – they contain important information about the IAP and the procedures that we plan to use to resolve the remaining files in our caseload. Parts of these documents are subject to approval by the Courts.
The document Bringing Closure, Enabling Reconciliation: a plan for resolving the remaining IAP Caseload (known as the Completion Strategy) outlines how we will resolve the remaining IAP caseload in a fair, impartial and claimant-centred manner. It provides an outline of the progress we have made to date and estimated timeframes for completion of the IAP. It also describes the remaining challenges as we move towards completion of our mandate.
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.
Along with the completion strategy, the Secretariat has also released information about a proposed Incomplete File Resolution (IFR) procedure and a Lost Claimants Protocol which have been submitted to the Supervising Courts for approval. These two documents outline the measures we have proposed to resolve the more difficult cases that we are unable to make progress on. They provide specific guidance to adjudicators who are assigned to these cases.
The Incomplete File Resolution procedure aims to resolve cases that are not proceeding to a hearing and cases that have no reasonable possibility of concluding with a hearing.
If you are involved in such a case as a self represented claimant, we urge you to hire a lawyer. The mechanisms that we will use to resolve these cases are complex, and the absence of legal counsel to advise you could further slow down your claim, or reduce the chances that your claim will be successful.
IRSAS staff and adjudicators will use an intensive case management approach for files in the Incomplete File Resolution procedure. Adjudicators who work in the IFR procedure will be tasked with identifying and resolving issues quickly, informally and cooperatively, and making every effort to resolve cases in the normal stream whenever possible.
The Incomplete File Resolution procedure includes safeguards at every stage to protect your rights as a claimant. It also includes a mechanism to dismiss some claims where progress cannot be made.
Please read the IFR procedure for more details. If you have questions about how this procedure may apply to your claim, please contact your Claimant Support Officer.
The Lost Claimant Protocol will be used to locate claimants who cannot be found by the Secretariat or their counsel.
The Protocol includes adopting pro-active measures to contact lost claimants. Every effort will be made to locate or contact lost claimants, all the while ensuring that measures are in place to protect their confidentiality.
Please read the Lost Claimants Protocol for more details.
To date, we have resolved more than 25,000 cases in the IAP. There are still over 12,000 active files that await resolution.
We will hold about 4,200 hearings in 2013-14, a near record number for the Secretariat. In 2014-15, we expect to hold 4,500 hearings, more than we have ever held in a single year. The remaining hearings – about 3,100, according to projections in the Completion Strategy – will be heard in 2015-16. We anticipate that all claimant first hearings will be held by the spring of 2016 and that all that post-hearing work and decisions will be finalized by spring 2018.