OTTAWA, Nov. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is pleased with a court order granting interim relief which will allow former students of Indian residential schools to submit their applications for personal credits for education programs until a final decision is made on a deadline extension.
In response to administrative concerns expressed by former residential school students and their families, AFN has urged the Government of Canada to consider extending the deadlines. An Order by the Supreme Court of British Columbia yesterday allows applicants to submit their Personal Credits Acknowledgement and Personal Credit Redemption Forms for processing until a final decision is made by the Courts. The court Order authorizes Crawford Class Action Services (which is administering the personal credits on behalf of the Government of Canada) to keep accepting and processing applications and redemption forms. A final decision to extend the deadline for applications has not yet been reached.
"We're pleased the Court is providing additional time for former students to submit forms while parties to the IRSSA work toward a final decision on an extension," said AFN Regional Chief Bill Erasmus who leads the work of the AFN Executive Committee in the area of residential schools. "We understand the administrative process for accessing the Personal Credits has not been easy and this is why we are doing all we can to assist former students and their families. Despite these administrative challenges, we acknowledge that there are many people using creative approaches to setting up initiatives to strengthen language, culture and healing. AFN's goal is to help ensure every CEP recipient has the information they need to apply for the personal credits, including exploring all options whether it be giving it to a family member or contributing to a group initiative."
AFN Liaison Coordinators, who have been in every region since February offering information to former students interested in learning more about the program and advising on applications, will continue to offer assistance to former students and their families. Other resources, links and instructional videos will continue to be available at www.afn.ca or directly at http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/personal-credits.
The personal credits for education program, offered by the Government of Canada is the final phase of compensation to Indian residential school survivors as set out in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) of 2007. It provides a one-time value of up to $3000 to former residential school students who have received the Common Experience Payment to be used for personal or group education programs and services provided by approved educational entities and groups. The program was announced in January 2014 with an original deadline of October 31, 2014.
For more information on the personal credits program, applications and timelines please contact Crawford Class Action Services at 1-866-343-1858 or at www.residentialschoolsettlement.ca.
For more information on the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and personal credits for education watch "Moment of Reckoning - Turning the Page on a Dark Chapter of Our Shared History" – a short film documentary speaking to the significance these and other events in achieving reconciliation http://youtu.be/FlEhRy_m1kU.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext 401, 613-314-8157, [email protected]; Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext 382, 613-292-0857, [email protected]