Assembly of First Nations Encourages Eligible Former Indian Residential School Students to File CEP Applications, Deadline Pending

OTTAWA, Sept. 14, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN Regional Chief Bill Erasmus today encouraged eligible former Indian Residential School students to submit applications for common experience payments as outlined under the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).

"The Common Experience Payment (CEP) is just one piece of a comprehensive approach to healing and reconciliation as we work together to move forward from the dark history of residential schools," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "Based on direction by Chiefs, AFN continues to advocate to strengthen and improve support for survivors and the Settlement Agreement process itself.  We support efforts by legal counsel and survivors advocating for any addition of an Indian Residential School. However, as it stands the deadline for CEP is September 19, 2011. We encourage eligible former residential school students to engage in the compensation process while at the same time supporting all survivors to continue their healing journey."

The Common Experience Payment (CEP) is one of two compensation processes for former residential school students as outlined in the AFN-led settlement agreement signed in 2007.  CEP is a lump sum payment recognizing the experience and impacts or residing at residential school, including loss of culture and language.  Eligible former residential school students that apply for CEP will receive $10,000 for the first year or part thereof plus an additional $3,000 for each subsequent year or partial year.  The deadline for applications to CEP is September 19, 2011.

"We encourage residential school survivors who feel this is helpful to their healing to apply immediately, including seeking assistance from family or support workers in filling out applications if required. Legal advice is not required for the CEP and former students do not need copies of their school records to apply for CEP," said AFN Regional Chief and portfolio holder Bill Erasmus.

Those eligible for CEP include any former student who resided at a recognized Indian Residential School and was alive on May 30, 2005 (October 5, 1996 for Cloud Class Members).  Application packages are available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca or by calling 1-866-699-1742; TTY 1-800-926-9105.  Completed applications can be submitted either by mail or in person to a centralized processing centre through Service Canada Outreach Services at various locations across Canada

The Independent Assessment Payment (IAP) is an out-of-court adjudicative process for individual compensation for sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and other wrongful acts causing serious psychological harm to former residential school students.  The deadline for that compensation process is September 19, 2012.

The IRSSA is the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. Implementation began September 19, 2007.  Parties to the settlement agreement include the Government of Canada, Legal counsel for former students, Churches, the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit organizations.  The intent of the settlement agreement is to begin repairing harm caused by residential schools.

The Settlement Agreement includes:

  1. Compensation for former students
  2. Establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  3. Commemorative activities
  4. Health and healing support measures

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

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