Class Updates

A Step Forward:  Court Dismisses One of Chief Ottawa’s Appeals

What’s Happening

On December 11, 2019, the Federal Court of Appeal delivered a decision dismissing one of Chief Paul-Émile Ottawa’s appeals. These appeals, submitted on behalf of Chief Ottawa by his lawyer, David Schulze (Partner, Dionne Schulze, S.E.N.C.), have been the main cause of delay in opening the claims process for Federal Indian Day School Survivors.

The decision comes days after the AFN passed a resolution urging Chief Ottawa to withdraw his two appeals so that Survivors can move forward to achieve recognition and justice (you can see the resolution, read on the floor of the AFN’s recent conference, here.

Claims process remains in limbo. Here’s why: 

While this decision represents a major step forward, it does not clear the path for Survivors to begin submitting claims.  That is because Chief Ottawa has 60 days to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to review the Federal Court’s decision. Unless Chief Ottawa decides to waive his right to approach the Supreme Court, the claims process will remain stalled for at least the next two months. Further, there is the matter of Chief Ottawa’s second appeal, which is still pending before the Federal Court of Appeal.

What this means for Class Members:

Until Chief Ottawa’s appeals are put to rest for good, Class Members will not be able to begin submitting claims for compensation. We hear the frustration and concern this is causing Survivors. We have spoken to hundreds of Class members who have expressed their dismay over this situation.  We are fully committed to doing everything in our power to move things forward as quickly as possible. We honour the words of Lead Plaintiff, Margaret Swan:

“This settlement is about the healing we need for our children…this could be a start to helping us, our children, our families, so that we don’t have to continue to fight the horrors and damage from these schools.”

We will continue to keep you up-to-date as this situation evolves.  We thank you for your help in sharing this information with other Survivors.