The lawyer representing Indian Day School survivors anticipates settlement discussions with Ottawa to begin shortly, after the federal government recognized the certification of the class-action lawsuit.

Jeremy Bouchard updated Chiefs at the Assembly of First Nations General Assembly in Vancouver Thursday. “We’re seeking direct compensation for the survivor class. Right now our evidence indicates there are anywhere between 120,000 to 140,000 who remain alive and who were subjected to these schools and the harsh treatment there,” Bouchard said.

Bouchard estimates more than 700 schools across the country are being identified, suggesting nearly every community has been affected.

Bouchard says Day School students were excluded from the Residential School settlement package as they did not reside there, going home at night. Yet he says those students suffered similar abuses as to students at residential schools.

“In terms of the harms, in terms of what people have reported, so far our evidence is that severe sexual, physical was a component as well as physiological abuse. There was also a significant impact on language and culture,” Bouchard explained.

Bouchard says the suit is not seeking direct compensation for survivors’ families, but money for programming. He committed to providing Chiefs with another update in December at the Special Chiefs Assembly.

(PHOTO: Cote Day School. Courtesy