NR 06-28 JUS ENG Nunavut Courts Issue Decision.doc
(December 20, 2006 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak today commended the Nunavut Court of Justice’s decision approving the proposed Residential School Settlement Agreement.
Courts in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon released decisions announcing their approval for the proposed settlement last Friday. Final approval of the settlement agreement will not take place until the court in the Northwest Territories approves the settlement. Common Experience Payments will not be made in any jurisdiction until this approval is received.
The decision of Mr. Justice Kilpatrick of the Nunavut Court of Justice was released yesterday. The much-awaited decision clearly shows that the Nunavut Court is coming to grips with the impact of residential schools on Inuit, and the importance of the residential school settlement for former students, said Kaludjak. The completion of this legal process is one more positive step toward healing and closure from the Inuit residential school experience.
NTI has worked very hard to ensure that Nunavut Inuit who were sent away to residential schools, and resided in hostels or residences, were included in the agreement.
Once the remaining court approves the settlement agreement, Inuit will have a period of five months to decide if they wish to opt out or to be included. NTI is planning information sessions to assist former students in Nunavut communities with making this decision. Once the opt out period ends, application forms for the Common Experience Payment and the Independent Assessment Process will be available from the Government of Canada and NTI.
The Common Experience Payment provides former residential school students with $10,000 in financial compensation for their first year of residential school, and an additional $3,000 for each year after that. Students who resided at a residential school or hostel are eligible for this compensation for loss of language, culture and family environment. Inuit do not need to consult a lawyer to apply for the Common Experience Payment.
Former students who were 65 years or older as of May 30, 2005, are eligible to receive an advance payment of $8,000 as part of the Common Experience Payment. The deadline for applying for the advance payment is Dec. 31, 2006.
Significant funding for healing, truth and reconciliation, commemoration and education initiatives are also available as part of the settlement agreement.
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