Court Approval on the Indian Day School Class Action Settlement is a Step Towards Reconciliation, says AFN National Chief

Published: Aug 21, 2019News

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde calls yesterday’s Federal Court announcement approving the Indian Day School class action settlement an important step towards reconciliation and healing for former students and their families.

“We stand with the survivors and their families in their fight for justice and healing,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This settlement is a step towards reconciliation and justice for all those who suffered as a result of compulsory attendance at these federal government run institutions. This settlement will help survivors and their families, and will help Canadians understand our shared history and the path forward.  Truth and justice are essential in our move towards healing and reconciliation.”

The AFN has fully supported the Indian Day School class action and the proposed Indian Day Schools Settlement to compensate the Indigenous children who attended Day Schools.  The class action was brought on behalf of two classes: the Survivor Class, which includes all Indigenous persons who attended an Indian Day School from 1920 onwards and the Family Class, which includes all spouses, former spouses, children, grandchildren and siblings of a member of the Survivor Class. As many as 140,000 claimants are eligible to receive between $10,000 and $200,000 based on the abuse suffered. A legacy fund will also be established for healing initiatives.

“Today is a good day for the survivors and families who attended the Indian Day Schools,” said AFN NWT Regional Chief Norman Yakeleya, who oversees this portfolio for the AFN.  “I want to acknowledge a true warrior, the late Garry McLean, one of the lead plaintiffs in the Indian Day School Lawsuit, who with his colleagues fought tirelessly to ensure former students and their families would receive restitution for the harms done. Garry is not with us to witness this historic day, but this is part of his legacy. This marks one small step towards justice and a huge leap towards reconciliation.”

The Indian Day School class action was filed by Joan Jack Law Office on July 31, 2009. Following significant delays, Gowling WLG became the firm representing the claimants for the class action.  Claimants have a 90-day opt-out period and a 60-day appeal period which has now commenced. The deadline to opt-out is November 18, 2019.

More information on the settlement can be found at:


The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.


For more information, please contact:


Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]