The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – More than 200 former residential school students who suffered abuse at the hands of other students will receive compensation from the federal government.
Crown- Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says the government is embarking on a negotiated settlement with 240 students who she says may not have received fair compensation under the previous process.
Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2005, the government agreed to compensation of more than $3 billion for 38,000 former students who were victims of abuse.
However, the process imposed a higher bar for claims of student-on-student abuse and many of those victims were denied compensation for never having reported the abuse to a teacher at the time – a condition that was not required of survivors who were abused by religious staff or teachers.
Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Murray Sinclair says the student-on-student abuse was one of the untold stories of the residential school tragedy with many victims afraid to come forward even during the commission hearings because they were often still living in the same community as their abuser.
Residential schools were run for more than a century by the churches on behalf of the federal government as a way to assimilate Indigenous children; in 2008, the government apologized formally to survivors of the schools for the efforts to break them of their languages and culture, ripping them away from their families and in many cases, subjecting them to physical, sexual and psychological abuse.