Independent Assessment Process


IAP Application & Guide

The Independent Assessment Process (IAP) is a new process, which will acknowledge survivors who have endured sexual, physical and psychological abuse at Residential School.  The Independent Assessment Process will replace the current Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) once the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) is ratified by the nine courts across Canada which are inclusive; Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.

Survivors who accept the Common Experience Payment which is the $10,000 for confinement and $3,000 for every year of attendance at residential school are eligible for the Independent Assessment Process.  Once the Common Experience Payment is accepted survivors will release the government and churches from any further court action and will have to follow the Independent Assessment Process to claim compensation for the abuses endured at residential school.  A survivor may be represented by legal counsel if they so choose to, though it is not required.  If compensation is awarded to a survivor who has been represented by counsel, the survivor will be granted an additional 15% of the amount paid to contribute towards legal fees.

The process begins by applying through a form-filler who will aid survivors with preparing the paper work.  Once the application has been received it will be reviewed by the Independent Assessment Process Secretariat and a hearing date will be set.  The hearing itself will be conducted in a manner which will aid the adjudicator in finding the survivorís story credible.  Adjudicators have the right and are empowered to prove the credibility of a survivorís story and the liability of the government and churches, as well as deciding on the compensation which may be rewarded to the survivor.

The application will be considered as long as it is properly filled out, sets out all the allegations and the declaration is signed.  If these allegations are proven the survivor will be awarded compensation.  If the application is not admitted for a Hearing by the Secretariat, the survivor will be advised as to why and given a chance to provide the additional information needed to have the application admitted into the Independent Assessment Process.

Group claims will be accepted if survivors from the same school and time (at said school) wish to have their claims heard at the same hearing.  Survivors choosing to go through this process must make a request to proceed as a group.  This procedure will show commonality among group members (school, community, issues).  A representative of the group must submit an application to proceed as a group.  Survivors who are already providing each other with support in connection with their Indian Residential School experiences may find this process easier.  This process will be accepted if the issues raised by the survivors within the group are similar and the group has a clear plan and intention to manage the healing journey into well-being.

Safety and Support Reasonable costs for support for survivors to travel to hearings will be paid.  Health Support Workers or access to counselling services, will be available for the hearing process. Cultural ceremonies such as an opening prayer or smudge will be incorporated at the request of the survivors where applicable.

The Point System The Independent Assessment Process is rated by a point system which an adjudicator will use to calculate compensation for those who have been affected by the abuses suffered at residential school.  These abuses have ultimately had an after affect on survivors which can be linked to posttraumatic syndrome; which is the same as traumatic stress experienced by those who have been involved in accidents, disasters, violence, and war.  The Independent Assessment Process point system has been determined by the different abuses inflicted on the former students of Residential School.  As long as a survivor can prove their claim of abuse, they will receive a larger settlement through this process.  The Independent Assessment Process categorizes the point system in the Compensation Rules which are Acts Proven, Consequential Harms and Loss of Opportunities.

Acts Proven The points system refers to and is based on seven separate levels of abuse.  The highest level of abuse is related to persistent and repeated sexual abuse as well as physical abuse.  The Acts Proven of abuse is based on the standard used by the civil courts of Canada. The act or acts of proving physical or sexual abuse will establish the scale which will award the points for the abuses committed upon the survivor while attending residential school.

Consequential Harms Continued harm resulting in serious dysfunction is seen as psychotic disorganization, loss of ego boundaries, personality disorders, pregnancy resulting from a defined sexual assault or the forced termination of such pregnancy or being required to place for adoption a child resulting from pregnancy from sexual assault, self-injury, suicidal tendencies, inability to form or maintain personal relationships, chronic post-traumatic state, sexual dysfunction or eating disorders.  Harm resulting in some dysfunction is seen as frequent difficulties with interpersonal relationships, development of obsessive-compulsive and panic states, severe anxiety, occasional suicidal tendencies, permanent significantly disabling physical injury, overwhelming guilt, self-blame, lack of trust in others, severe post-traumatic stress disorder, some sexual dysfunction, or eating disorders.

Continued Detrimental Impacts is seen as difficulties with interpersonal relationships, occasional obsessive-compulsive and panic states, some post-traumatic stress disorder, occasional sexual dysfunction, addiction to drugs, alcohol or substances, a long term significantly disabling physical injury resulting from a defined sexual assault, or lasting and significant anxiety, guilt, self-blame, lack of trust in others, nightmares, bed-wetting, aggression, hyper-vigilance, anger, retaliatory rage and possibly self-inflicted injury.

Some Detrimental Impacts is seen as occasional difficulty with personal relationships, some mild post-traumatic stress disorder, self-blame, lack of trust in others, and low self-esteem; and/or several occasions and several symptoms of: anxiety, guilt, nightmares, bed-wetting, aggression, panic states, hyper-vigilance, retaliatory rage, depression, humiliation, loss of self-esteem.

Modest Detrimental Impacts is seen as occasional short-term, one of: anxiety, nightmares, bed-wetting, aggression, panic states, hyper-vigilance, retaliatory rage, depression, humiliation, loss of self-esteem.

Consequential Loss of Opportunity is the chronic inability to obtain or retain employment.  Also, the chronic inability to retain employment or periodic inability to retain or obtain employment or the inability to undertake/complete education or training resulting in underemployment, and/or unemployment.  The loss of opportunity can also be measured from diminished work capacity resulting from physical strength and lack of attention span.  If there is proof of Consequential Loss of opportunity survivors will have to offer evidence to prove the declared harm resulting from residential school.   It must be understood that where a survivor makes a claim for income loss the adjudicator shall request professional reports or medical assessments which will prove the above consequential loss of opportunity.

The Burden of Proof will be gathered by the adjudicator by the standard process employed by the civil courts. As the alleged acts deem to be more serious adjudicators, if need be, will expect more convincing evidence in order to have the survivorís Burden of Proof met. The adjudicator may establish a verdict on evidence from a means of proof from the argument or case being heard before the hearings and deem it credible or trustworthy.  The adjudicator can use the survivorís application and witness statements for a source of questioning at the hearing.  Survivorís can use the previous recorded statement as long as they stick to the original story submitted in the application.  The adjudicator has the responsibility to assess the credibility of each allegation.

The Hearing Process will use an inquisitorial process for all claims to assess the credibility of the survivorís story to determine which allegations are proven.  In the hearing process the adjudicator is responsible for managing the hearing, questioning all witnesses and preparing a decision with his or her conclusions and reasons.  The adjudicatorís questioning will have two purposes, the first is to hear the full story from witnesses and test the evidence.  The survivor may give their evidence in their own words and are subject to questioning by the adjudicator. Refusal to answer questions may result in a finding that the story is not true. The survivor may read a prepared statement , but this may impact credibility.

Future Care may be awarded additional compensation to the tune of $10,000 for general medical treatment and counselling.  A collective total including the $10,000 can be brought up to $15,000 if psychiatric care is also needed.  If a claim is requested for future care, the adjudicator will decide to grant this extra payment as long as it fits within the Compensation Rules. The decision will be based on the effect the proven abuse has had on the individual, whether there has been any treatment obtained for the effects of the abuse endured, the accessibility of treatment in the survivorís home community.

Time Frame which the Federal government has laid out for this process is a period of five years following the implementation of this agreement.   As a survivorís case is ready to be heard, the Federal government and the survivor may attempt to settle outside of the hearing; meaning that the Independent Agreement Process Secretariat may appoint an adjudicator to assist in resolving the claim without going through the hearing process.