In November 2004, the AFN published a report entitled, Report on Canada’s Dispute Resolution Plan to Compensate for Abuses in Indian Residential Schools. The AFN stressed that compensation alone would not achieve the goals of reconciliation and healing. Rather, a comprehensive approach required compensation, truth-telling, healing, and public education.
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement (IRSSA) was signed on May 8, 2006. The parties to the IRSSA included: Canada; the AFN; various Plaintiffs, as represented by a National Consortium of lawyers, the Merchant Law Group, and Independent Counsel; Inuit Representatives; the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada; the Presbyterian Church of Canada; the United Church of Canada; and Roman Catholic Church entities.
Between December 2006 and January 2007, nine courts from across Canada issued judgments certifying the class actions and approving the terms of settlement as being fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Class Members.
The IRSSA is the largest class action settlement in Canadian history to date. The IRSSA has five components: the Common Experience Payment; Independent Assessment Process; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Commemoration; and Health and Healing Services. The two elements of the Settlement through which former students obtained individual compensation are the Common Experience Payment and the Individual Assessment Process.