In May 2006, the Agreement-in-Principle was accepted by the Government of Canada, thus becoming the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), which was immediately submitted to the courts in 9 jurisdictions across Canada for approval. The approval process took many months but was finally completed on March 23, 2007. A 5-month “opt-out” period has now commenced. This will enable former students to decided whether or not they wish to be included in the IRSSA. Any former student who chooses to opt out will not be eligible for the Common Experience Payment, and will not be eligible to apply to enter the Independent Assessment Process. This means that litigation will be the only avenue still available as a means of settling their claims. Those who do not formally opt out will be deemed to be included in the IRSSA, and will be eligible for the benefits of that Agreement. It is expected that implementation of the IRSSA, following the opt-out period and some time for administrative set-up, will occur sometime in the fall of this year. There is a proviso in the IRSSA that if more than 5000 former students opt out, then the Agreement could be declared null and void. Most observers consider this to be unlikely.
Now that the new Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement has been approved, the government is no longer taking applications to the Alternative Dispute Resoultion process. This process has been upgraded and amended and now becomes the Independent Assessment Review process. Applications to IAP will be accepted from the date of implementation of the IRSSA.
The 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement includes an amended version of the Anglican Agreement of 2003. The main provisions of this new Anglican Amended Agreement of 2007 (Link), which will come into effect immediately upon implementation, are as follows:
- The Government of Canada will pay 100% of all compensation to eligible former students, both the Common Experience Payments and any compensation for abuse claims awarded under the Independent Assessment Process.
- The Government of Canada will refund to the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation all compensation paid out between November 20, 2005 and the date of implementation of the IRSSA. There will be no refund of compensation paid out before that date, which sum is approximately $6.7 million.
- The total amount that the Anglican Church of Canada is required to raise under the Anglican Amended Agreement is approximately $15.7 million, which includes the $6.7 million mentioned above. The amount that has been raised by the efforts of all dioceses and the General Synod currently exceeds $18 million.
- This means, therefore, that dioceses that have paid more than their share of the $15.7 million will be eligible to receive a refund from the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation.
- It is anticipated that these refunds will be available to dioceses towards the end of 2007 or early in 2008.
- After these refunds have been paid, the remaining money will be put in a new Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation (AFHR), to be allocated over a 12-year period to support healing and reconciliation projects.
- This means that the AFHR will have at it disposal more than double the amount that is currently available each year to fund projects of healing and reconciliation.
- Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement
- Establishment of the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation