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The role of the Churches in the IAP
Who can attend an IAP hearing?
IAP hearings are closed to the public. Only the former student, their counsel, their support person(s), a health support worker (if requested), an interpreter (if requested), an Elder (if requested), the adjudicator, the government of Canada’s representative, and a church representative may attend an IAP hearing.
What is the role of the Church in the Independent Assessment Process?
There are a number of church entities that are parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), all with differing legal and ecclesiastic structures. The Settlement Agreement was signed by Church entities from four different Christian denominations. Three of the denominations are of the Protestant faith; the Presbyterian, Anglican and United Churches, each a distinct legal entity. The fourth Church denomination is comprised of several separate signing entities committed to the Catholic faith. There are 52 distinct and legally autonomous Catholic corporate entities that signed the Settlement Agreement. All four distinct sets of Church entities that signed the Settlement Agreement may be referred to as co-defendants in the class action Settlement Agreement.
Under the Settlement Agreement, all of the signatory Churches have the legal right to receive copies of the claimant’s IAP application, all documents provided by any party to the case, to receive notice of hearings and to participate in IAP hearings. As is the case with participants other than the claimant, Church representatives do not speak during the hearing. The adjudicator is the only person allowed to ask questions to the claimant. The adjudicator, the claimant’s lawyer, Canada’s representative and if present, the Church representative, can be a part of any caucus – a private meeting that allows all present to ask questions and be a part of the dialogue with the adjudicator. A Church representative is also entitled to make submissions at the end of the hearing. Churches are also entitled to the right to request that adjudicators’ written decisions be reviewed by another adjudicator.
Why do the Church representatives ask to be present at the Hearing?
A Church representative, if in attendance, is present at the hearing for three reasons: 1) to witness the claimant’s experience at the Residental School; 2) to address the claimant at the end of the hearing in a manner to promote healing and; 3) to provide pastoral care, if requested to do so by the claimant.
The Churches who are party to the Settlement Agreement have chosen to attend or defer attendance at IAP hearings on differing bases, as follows:
For the Presbyterian, Anglican and United Churches: The Presbyterian, Anglican and United Churches are distinct entities, all centralized in their legal structure. They have taken a common approach to their participation in IAP hearings:
- When the claimant requests that the church attend their hearing, the church will participate in a supportive role.
- When the claimant requests that the Church not attend, the Church will respect the claimant’s wishes.
For the Catholic Church entities: Some Catholic entities, principally those involved in claims relating to Quebec schools and some schools in Ontario, regularly attend IAP hearings pursuant to their legal right under the Settlement Agreement. However, most of the Catholic entities, particularly those that were involved in residential schools in western Canada, generally do not attend the IAP hearings, in recognition that a great number of claimants have indicated a preference when filing their claims that Church representatives not participate at the hearings. However, if a Catholic entity is provided reasonable notice that the Claimant specifically requests the Church entity be represented at a hearing for supportive purposes, consideration will be given to identifying personnel who are able to attend the hearing for that purpose.
How can a claimant request a Church representative at the IAP hearing?
The Adjudication Secretariat is responsible for arranging the hearing and the attendance of the participants. Therefore, the Secretariat will ensure, at every hearing involving a former IRS School, every claimant will be asked if he or she would like to have a Church representative present. The request is made in writing on a Logistics Request Form for Hearing in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). The form is sent to the claimant to complete or to their lawyer if they have one.
If represented by a lawyer, the lawyer is expected to ask the claimant whether he/she wishes to have a Church representative present. Claimants wishing to have a Church representative attend the hearing must advise their lawyer to make this request on their behalf.
The Hearings Management Officer, who makes the hearing arrangements, informs the Church representative for the school(s) involved in the claim as to the claimant's indicated preference for Church attendance. This information is also included on the form called the Hearing Set Notification that the scheduler sends out to all parties when the hearing date is first established.
Will more than one Church representative be present at the IAP hearing?
It is possible that more than one Church representative will be present at the IAP hearing. If the former student attended more than one school run by different Churches, all Churches may choose to attend the IAP hearing in the spirit of the Settlement Agreement.
For more information please call the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) Toll Free Information Line 1-877-635-2648
24 Hour Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419
March 12, 2014