A Regina-based lawyer is downplaying the importance of a recent decision involving residential school survivors.
Last week, a chief adjudicator with the Independent Assessment Process ruled the government must provide more evidence through the claims process.
That evidence relates to abuse that was done to students by other students.
However, Tony Merchant says even though more information about those types of abuses will be forthcoming, it won’t actually result in more compensation coming to survivors who have already had their claim processed.
He does say, though, it could help some students whose claims have failed:
“And there could be a possibility of going back and trying again for students who failed. But students who receive compensation aren’t going to get more.”
Merchant says if the government really wanted to do students a favour, it would stop excluding certain schools from the compensation process:
“If the government really wanted to be forthcoming and appropriately deal with the people in northern Saskatchewan and the north, generally, they would change their view and rulings on excluding schools because they were Metis schools — not Indian schools — and excluding schools because the provincial government was a partial funder.”
Merchant adds Prime Minister Stephen Harper already promised to include the Ile a la Crosse Boarding School on the list of schools eligible for compensation, but failed to keep his word.
He says he is working on a court application to move forward on the Ile a la Crosse file and an application has already been made for the Timber Bay Children’s Home.
Merchant notes between 65% and 75% of IAP claims have been processed so far.
He says he’ll be looking at previous cases to see if any of the changes can result in positive news for his clients.