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Indian Day School Survivors Urged to File Compensation Claims as Deadline Approaches

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Indian Day School survivors have just weeks left to file a federal compensation claim, and BC advocates are urging those who have not done so to share their stories and file a claim. .

Over 600 day schools have operated in Canada for over 100 years. The so-called schools were similar to boarding schools, where students were abused and the goal was to erase native language and culture.

However, because they were operated separately from residential schools, day schools were not included in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

In 2019, Canada signed a $1.47 billion settlement with thousands of former students of day schools that operated across Canada between 1863 and 2000. The deadline to submit a claim for compensation under of this regulation is July 13, although applicants in exceptional circumstances may apply. for a six-month extension.

Arnie Nagy, an advocate with the Prince Rupert Action Center for the Unemployed, has helped hundreds of people file claims, and he says many of them have been successful.

“I had a client, she and her husband got their compensation checks and they’ve been renters all their lives. When they got the check, they’re now landlords,” he said.

Others have been able to save money for retirement or make much-needed repairs to their homes, according to Nagy.

Arnie Nagy, left, and Pansy Collison are urging survivors of Indian Day Schools across Canada to file their federal compensation claims before the July 13, 2022 deadline. (Carolina de Ryk/CBC)

Nagy takes two days to review the complaints process with customers; the first day he explains how it all works, and the next day he makes sure they are mentally prepared to detail their experiences before filling out the forms.

“A lot of times what happened to them in school is the first time they talk about it,” Nagy said. “None of their families even heard or knew what happened.”

Day school survivor Pansy Collison attended a facility in Old Massett in the mid-1950s. She says she was physically abused, including having her little finger broken.

“As a teacher myself for 23 years, I often wonder how our parents weren’t involved in decision-making at school,” she said.

“I communicated with the parents and everything about their child. But that’s something that never happened to me when I was a kid.”

Having already gone through the compensation claim process, she recently helped her husband submit his story and encourages others to do the same.

“This [is] it was time for the clerkship experience to be recognized,” she said.

Indian Day School Survivors Urged to File Compensation Claims as Deadline Approaches
Children pictured reading at Sir Alexander Mackenzie School in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in 1959. (Library and Archives Canada)

Compensation is made according to a tiered system for damages suffered, from level one to level five, ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. Survivors who make claims for levels two through five must write a statement disclosing details of the abuse they suffered.

Nagy is urging survivors to file their claims and said he will work through the night to ensure survivors in his area can file their claims in the coming weeks.

He said he had a client who was initially promised the full $200,000, the highest pay tier, but was later told he would only receive $10,000 – the lowest tier. lower.

Nagy said he got involved and told the settlement’s claims administrator, Deloitte, that they would not accept the decision.

“Six weeks later he called me and he got his full compensation check,” Nagy said.

sunrise north7:54Helping Indian Day School Survivors Claim Compensation

Arnie Nagy from Prince Rupert helped over 500 people through the process

Support is available for anyone impacted by their experience at Indian or Federal Day Schools, and for those who are triggered by these reports. People can access mental health counseling and crisis intervention immediately at the Hope for Wellness Helpline by calling 1-855-242-3310 or online at