Residential School Agreement Finalized

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 14:44



Former students of Indian residential schools got some good news yesterday.


In response to a question in the House of Commons, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice announced a $1.9 billion compensation agreement for survivors had been finalized.


The deal must be approved by the Conservative cabinet, which is expected to take place within the next week.


The agreement also has to receive clearance by the courts.


The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is welcoming the news.


FSIN vice chief Morley Watson says yesterday’s developments were certainly welcome given all the uncertainty that’s surrounded this issue in recent months.


Watson says it’s his hope that every eligible victim will be compensated within the next calendar year.


The FSIN estimates there are between 17,000 and 19,000 survivors in Saskatchewan who attended a residential school for an average of 5.5 years. The federation says, based on the formula agreed to within the settlement agreement, Saskatchewan survivors will receive an average payment of $25,000.


Meanwhile, it appears early payments of $8,000 to elderly survivors could still be on the way, even though some lawyers have said they think that is unlikely.


In the House of Commons yesterday, Prentice promised those interim payments were going to be looked at in short order.


Under terms of the agreement, all former students are entitled to a common experience payment of $10,000. They also qualify for an additional $3,000 for each year they attended a residential school.


(with files from The Canadian Press)