Online help is on the way for federal Indian day school applicants

Denise Titian, April 21, 2020

Indian Day Schools, funded by the Government of Canada, operated mostly on Indian reserves from the late 1800s to, in some cases, as late as 1985 in Ahousaht. Pictured are students and staff at the Ahousaht day school in 1910. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)

Canada — 

Former Indian day school students that have not submitted their claim forms for Federal Day School Class Action compensation can now find help to complete the forms online, according to Hailey MacKinnon, a consultant for Argyle Public Relationships.

The nationwide class action settlement compensates survivors of Indian day schools for harms they suffered while attending the federally operated institutions.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has brought stay-at-home directions for Canada’s seniors as well as all non-essential workers, day school survivors are left with few options for assistance in completing the forms.

“During this pandemic, there are various supports still available for people who wish to submit a claim,” MacKinnon wrote.

Gowling WLG, class counsel for the settlement, is providing virtual Community Assistance Sessions on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 (today) from 4 – 5:30 p.m. (PT) by way of video conference to assist class members with claims forms in British Columbia.

“These sessions will provide claimants with information about the claims process and how to complete the claim form. A lawyer will be available to answer individual questions as well,” MacKinnon wrote in an email.

In addition, claimants can register for a Community Assistance Session at the website: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/bc-yukon-community-assistance-session-registration-101905939408. While it may be too late to tune into today’s session, there is a schedule of all sessions is available on a website at: https://indiandayschools.com/en/contact/presentations/.

These information sessions are done online via videoconferencing. There is an option to participate in the presentation by telephone.

In addition to the online presentations, Gowling WLG is providing a Claims Help Line at 1-888-221-2898. The help line provides support for anyone who has specific questions about their claim form.

There is also a Facebook group where you can ask questions. The group is called McLean Class Action on Indian Day Schools.

The Indian Day School website, located at https://indiandayschools.com/en/resources/, provides step-by-step instruction through a video that can be viewed online.

Even though NTC staff are maintaining social distancing some continue to work from home. One of those employees is Resolution Health Support Worker Daisy Elliot, who is available to provide assistance to anyone needing support through the application process.

According to Ruby Ambrose, Southern Region coordinator for the NTC’s Teechuktl Mental Health Program, Elliot had been reporting to work and will assist day school survivors with their compensation forms in Port Alberni.

“Daisy is available to provide this service Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.,” said Ambrose.

In keeping with social distancing requirements during the pandemic, Elliott provides support services by phone and by email.

Daisy Elliott can be reached by phone at 1-250-720-1736 or by email at Daisy.Elliot@nuuchahnulth.org .

“Daisy has been supporting people with these forms for months and has a lot of knowledge on the process,” added Ambrose.