Prentice Says Fees Dispute Won’t Delay Payments

Thursday, February 01, 2007 at 14:01



Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice is trying to allay any fears by residential school victims who are worried about their compensation payments being delayed further by a dispute over lawyers’ fees.


The federal government recently filed an appeal of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench decision to approve the residential school compensation agreement — including the legal fees that will be paid to the Merchant Law Group.


It’s estimated that firm might receive as much as $40 million out of the deal for services rendered on behalf of residential school survivors.


Merchant has said the recent court action could easily delay the payment of the common experience payments several months, or even a year.


The payments are expected to be paid out in August or September.


However, Prentice says the government “strongly believes” that the dispute “need not, nor should not” delay those payments.


Prentice says it’s “only reasonable and appropriate” that the lawyers should have their bills verified — especially since the agreement calls for that kind of verification.