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The Law Society of Upper Canada has completed its case, including testimony from 14 witnesses, at the misconduct hearing for a lawyer from Kenora, Ont., accused of misconduct on residential school files.
The lawyer, who works for several First Nations in the Treaty 3 area of northwestern Ontario, has denied the allegations.
After this week, the proceedings are scheduled to continue April 3 to 7; April 10 to 13; April 17, 18, 19 and 21 and April 24, 25 and 28.
This week an Ontario Superior Court judge made a landmark ruling on the so-called Sixties Scoop, concluding that the federal government failed to protect thousands of indigenous children who were living on reserves by allowing provincial agencies to place them in foster care away from their families, language and culture.
The lawsuit was launched eight years ago and the federal government did everything in its power to try to stop it. The case was fought in Ontario, but the decision has precedence across the country with other cases currently before the courts.
The Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Caroline Bennett, said the government will not appeal the case and will conduct discussions as to the way forward.
The Sixties Scoop is actually a misnomer, because the act of scooping up indigenous children has continued over the decades up to the present.
Lawyers overcharged more than 2,500 people who were compensated for abuse they suffered in residential schools, say documents revealed by Ottawa.
Fifty-six of the lawyers had their fees reduced on more than 10 separate occasions and one lawyer had fees reviewed 257 times and paid back more than $2 million.
The Law Society of Manitoba disbarred Howard Tennenhouse in 2012, who fought Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat rulings to return $960,000 in extra fees he charged 55 clients, many of whom lived on Sandy Bay First Nation.
They have all been reimbursed, secretariat spokesman Michael Tansey told the Free Press Thursday, adding the Tennenhouse files are the only lawyer overcharges the federal agency is aware of involving a Manitoba lawyer.
Acknowledging and addressing the injustice of the Sixties Scoop is the next step in the process of reconciliation, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says.
Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Edward Belobaba on Monday found the Canadian government breached its duty of care towards children taken from their families in Ontario. Damages will be awarded; the suit sought more than $1 billion for more than 16,000 affected children.
How much the federal government will have to pay has not yet been determined.
More important than the ruling itself is what happens next and how people can heal and right those wrongs, Cameron said.
The chief of a Manitoba First Nation says the lawyer who misappropriated nearly a million dollars from some of the community's most vulnerable and traumatized people should face criminal prosecution.
"I think he should be charged," Sandy Bay Chief Lance Roulette said of disbarred Winnipeg lawyer Howard Tennenhouse.
Tennenhouse misappropriated $960,000 from 55 residential school survivors he represented, the Law Society of Manitoba ruled in 2012. The regulatory body said many of the victims were unaware he had charged excess fees.
Tennenhouse is one of 10 lawyers disbarred in Manitoba over the past six years for financial misconduct whose cases were turned over to Winnipeg police for review. No charges have been laid against any of them, and Winnipeg police won't say why.
A CBC News investigation found 220 lawyers across Canada were disciplined by law societies from 2010 to 2015 for misappropriating about $160 million of their clients' money.
Lawyers were punished for a variety of infractions, including helping themselves to clients' trust funds, keeping money that belonged to a deceased client's estate, mishandling of client funds, charging for services not provided and charging fees that were so unreasonable that they constituted misconduct.
But CBC could find evidence of criminal charges against just 19 lawyers during that time period.
It may be impossible to identify all of the former students who were abused at Canada’s Indian residential schools but abandoned their compensation claims when they were subjected to a questionable legal manoeuvre by federal lawyers, says the secretariat charged with determining which cases fall into that category.
The Department of Indigenous Affairs recently completed a year-long investigation into the claims that were rejected or reduced as a result of the “administrative split” – a technicality used to disqualify a school from being included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The department has since produced a list, as yet unpublished, of about 200 survivors whose applications for redress had been affected.
But claimants’ lawyers say many more former students withdrew their claims in the initial stages after being convinced by adjudicators and federal representatives that the administrative split left them no chance of success.
The secretariat that administers the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which was established as part of the agreement to award those who were abused, was asked by the government to determine which claims were abandoned in the prehearing phase because of the administrative split.
But Michael Tansey, an IAP spokesman, said this week in an e-mail: “We are not always advised as to the reason(s) for withdrawal of claims.”
Lawyers for more than 2,000 people who say they were physically or sexually assaulted as children at Indian residential schools have seen their fees reduced by adjudicators who determined that they overcharged their clients, the federal government or both, the government has revealed.
Over the past decade, more than 50 lawyers saw their fees reduced by an adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) on 10 or more occasions. One lawyer had to pay back more than $2-million.
In response to questions put to the government late last year by NDP MP Charlie Angus, who was his party’s critic for indigenous affairs, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said “there were some 24,380 legal-fee rulings completed by Dec. 12, 2016, [and] some 2,540 legal-fee reviews that resulted in fees being reduced. There were 56 lawyers that had their fees reduced on 10 or more occasions.”
In other words, the adjudicators reduced the fees in more than 10 per cent of the claims.
Michael Tansey, a spokesman for the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, which administers the IAP, later told The Globe and Mail that “one lawyer had their fees reviewed 257 times and had to pay back $2,019,836.85. This lawyer is no longer practising in the IAP.”
Adjudicators have no authority to sanction lawyers for excessive fees. That authority rests with the law societies.
The National Network for Equitable Library Services announced Tuesday that all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reports on residential schools are now available online.
There are 16 volumes, almost 8,000 pages of e-text, 600 hours of audio, and 6.75 gigabytes of information.
The French and English reports can be found online at the NNELS Truth and Reconcilation Commission page at https://nnels.ca/trc.
After an eight-year court battle, an Ontario Superior Court judge has found that the federal government failed to prevent on-reserve children from losing their Indigenous identity after they were forcibly taken from their homes as part of what's known as the Sixties Scoop.
Thousands of First Nations children were placed in non-Indigenous care between 1965 and 1984, which resulted in psychological harm that has dogged survivors into adulthood, Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in his ruling Tuesday, siding with the plaintiffs.
Belobaba said Canada breached its "duty of care" to the children, and ignored the damaging effects of the Ontario-led program. There are lawsuits in other jurisdictions over similar programs that placed children in foster care or with adoptive parents.
The ruling in the bitterly fought class action paves the way for an assessment of damages the government will now have to pay.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Tuesday the government would "absolutely not" appeal the ruling, but would push to settle on monetary compensation out of court.
Similar legal actions in several provinces other than Ontario are pending but none has been certified.
“It won’t be government and it won’t be soldiers who decide our future,” said Chief Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
“It will be the arts.”
LaForme made the comments to a group of about 150 people Monday night, during a community discussion on truth and reconciliation at MacLachlan College.
The Indigenous Education Advisory Committee of the Halton Catholic and District School Boards, YMCA of Oakville, Oakville Community Foundation, Town of Oakville, and a number of local independent schools and businesses have been collaborating on local projects, such as the community discussion, to incorporate the values of reconciliation.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008, as a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to investigate and report on what happened in Indian Residential Schools.
Le jugement pourrait donc être entendu aussi tôt que mardi prochain, selon le juge Belobaba.
Dans un courriel adressé au juge et obtenu par La Presse canadienne, Barney Brucker, avocat principal du ministère de la Justice, a déclaré qu'il abandonnait la motion proposée (de suspendre la décision, NDLR). Cette motion, selon l'avocat, avait alors été motivée par la « perspective d'une résolution négociée » en ce qui a trait aux différents recours collectifs.
The federal government has backed off its attempts to stall a decision in an eight-year-old legal case initiated by indigenous people who say they were deprived of their cultural identity when they were removed as children from their homes on reserves and placed with white families.
Justice Belobaba refused to hold that meeting and instead urged the federal lawyers to explain in writing why the decision should not be read.
Instead of making the written case for a delay, Mr. Brucker wrote to Justice Belobaba on Friday to rescind his request.
The proposed delay of the decision was motivated by the fact that the federal government has said it is prepared to reach a negotiated settlement with all of the litigants in Sixties Scoop cases, explained Mr. Brucker. Similar cases have been launched in other provinces but the Ontario case, which has been certified as a class action and which has been actively before the court since last August, is the furthest along.
Justice Belobaba is now planning to release his decision on Feb. 14.
TORONTO -- An extraordinary 11th-hour government attempt to stop a judge from ruling on a bitter eight-year legal fight over the so-called '60s Scoop is under fire from the plaintiffs and observers, who denounced it Wednesday as galling and unprecedented political interference in judicial proceedings.
In a blistering note to Ontario Superior Court, the plaintiffs urge Justice Edward Belobaba to reject the Liberal government's request to put his decision on ice one week before he was expected to issue it.
"It is difficult to provide a measured and professional response to this request by new counsel for (Canada)," Morris Cooper, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers said in an email to Belobaba obtained by The Canadian Press.
"This unprecedented, unilateral request by the defendant (amounts to) shameless audacity, impudence, gall, or effrontery."
In an interview, Cooper called it "mind-boggling" that a litigation lawyer would contact the judge hearing the case without the knowledge or consent of the opposing party.
After trying for years to have an Ontario class action lawsuit from ’60s Scoop survivors thrown out, the federal government is now asking a Toronto judge to hold off on releasing his ruling in the case.
Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba is set to deliver his judgment next Wednesday on whether Canada is liable for the loss of cultural identity suffered by indigenous children when they were taken from their homes and placed in non-indigenous care between the 1960s and the early 1980s.
But in a move described as unprecedented and which has outraged the Ontario plaintiffs, the government’s lawyers have asked Belobaba to postpone the release of his ruling because Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has announced she wants to start negotiations on a settlement with ’60s Scoop survivors across the country.
Lawyers for indigenous people who were removed as children from their homes on reserves to be placed with non-aboriginal families are furious after the federal government asked a judge to consider delaying his imminent verdict in the now eight-year-old case.
The Justice Department wrote this week to Justice Edward Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court to ask for a meeting between all of the legal parties to discuss the timing of the judgment that he planned to deliver on Feb. 15.
Morris Cooper, one of the lawyers for the Ontario plaintiffs, wrote to Justice Belobaba urging him to reject Mr. Brucker’s request.
Justice Belobaba also seemed less than enthusiastic about the government’s proposal. “As you know, the plaintiff is not going to consent to any delay, as is their right – my present intention is to release the decision on WED FEB 15,” the judge wrote Wednesday in response to Mr. Brucker’s request for a meeting to discuss a delay.
Two Canadian Indigenous Anglican theological students have received a financial boost as a result of a recent decision by the diocese of Western Newfoundland.
In December 2016, the two students, Sharon Campbell and Aaron Sault, were each awarded $20,000 to fund their studies. The one-time bursaries were created mostly from money returned to the diocese of Western Newfoundland from Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement funds.
Following the federal government’s settlement with the Roman Catholic Church in 2007, it was agreed that $2.8 million of the Anglican Church of Canada’s $15.7-million obligation under the agreement would be set aside pending the results of a seven-year fundraising campaign by the Roman Catholic Church.
By the time it ended in September 2014, the Catholic campaign had raised much less money than originally hoped, and as a result, as per the settlement agreement, the Anglican national church returned the $2.8 million to the dioceses, which had raised it.
Algoma University is pledging action in six areas based on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The commission, launched in 2009 to hear how residential schools affected students, included 94 recommendations in its report released in 2015.
Algoma University is based at the former site of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School.
The statement will be posted on a plaque for public viewing.
The Shingwauk residential school ran from 1874 to 1970.
The topic of reconciliation was front-and-centre last week after the city of Port Alberni rejected a bid to rename a city street named after former MP and accused racist Alan Webster Neill.
City council was swayed by public backlash against the move, epitomized by presentation where resident Cameron Stefiuk told council reconciliation was not his responsibility.
Not everyone agrees.
The City of Victoria has declared 2017 the Year of Reconciliation in conjunction with Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Helps got the idea to declare 2017 the Year of Reconciliation in Victoria after attending a conference in Winnipeg last year. She was struck by the mayor and council declaring 2016 the Year of Reconciliation following the release of the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Luke Marston is the Ladysmith-based carver who created the Bentwood Box which travelled the country with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, collecting the stories of First Nations people.
Marston told the University of Manitoba Today the box’s mission continues.
A lengthy review by Ottawa of people abused as children at Canada’s infamous Indian residential schools has found that fewer than 200 claims were dismissed or reduced after federal lawyers successfully argued that some of the institutions ceased being subject to a massive settlement deal.
But the year-long analysis did not look at how many former students of the church-run schools withdrew their claims after being convinced that the legal argument, known as the administrative split, left them with no chance of receiving an award under the Indian Residential Schools settlement agreement.
The Indigenous Affairs Department sent a letter late last week to members of the committee that administers the agreement – the largest class action in Canadian history – to advise them that the “urgent” review ordered last February by Minister Carolyn Bennett into the administrative split had been completed. That letter said department officials have determined that former students at 22 of the 139 schools listed in the settlement were affected by the argument and that “fewer than 200 claims” were impacted.
In a major shift in tactics, the federal government said Wednesday that it wants to negotiate claims resulting from the so-called ‘60s Scoop in which thousands of aboriginal children were taken from their families and placed in non-native homes.
The change, which comes as a judge gets set to rule on a years-old $1.3-billion class action in Ontario, aims to resolve a “dark and painful chapter” in Canada’s history, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett told the House of Commons.
Instead, government lawyers this week informed Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba that they now had no plans to cross-examine the aging elders or any further evidence to tender, documents show.
The federal government is offering to negotiate a settlement in a class-action lawsuit known as the ‘60s Scoop case, in which indigenous people say they lost their cultural identity when they were removed as children from their homes on reserves to be placed with non-aboriginal families.
The government announced Wednesday that it is willing to entertain talks to end the long-running court dispute after federal lawyers informed a justice of Ontario’s Superior Court that they would not cross-examine two aging First Nations elders who were preparing to testify, and that they had no more evidence to tender.
The $1.3-billion suit seeks redress for what the plaintiffs say was the government’s failure to ensure that, after being taken from their communities by child-welfare authorities, the children were allowed to maintain their traditions and customs and to obtain the benefits that flow to aboriginal people, such as free postsecondary tuition.
Similar suits have been launched in other provinces where the plaintiffs are waiting for the outcome of the Ontario case. The government said it hoped to reach settlements in all of the legal actions.
It’s time to stop talking about reconciliation and to start doing something about it, say those who attended a two-day Preventative and Restorative Services Conference in Regina.
Mark Fox, executive director of Foxvalley Counselling Services, said since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 Calls to Action he has heard a lot of talk about reconciliation, but has seen very little action.
On Wednesday, Eugene Arcand, member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Indian Residential School Survivor Committee, shared not only his own story of residential school but what people can do to get involved in reconciliation.
Arcand told the audience that reconciliation is everyone’s responsibility and challenged them to read the 94 Calls to Action and work on implementing them on personal and professional level.
St’at’imc survivors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School and their families will embark on a healing journey in March – a four-day walk called Náskan Åªxwal (I’m Going Home) that will take them from the school through St’at’imc territory.
The walk starts Sunday, Mar. 26 with a ceremony at the old school building, a brunch and a relay to the Bonaparte Indian Band near Cache Creek. On the second day, participants will walk from the Hat Creek/Marble Canyon Junction to Ts’kw’aylaxw and Xaxli’p. Day 3 on Mar. 28 will see participants walk from Xaxli’p to Sekw’el’was and then to T’it’q’et. The final leg of the journey will take them from T’it’q’et to Xwisten and then to Tsal’alh.
Ceremonies will be held in individual St’at’imc communities during the walk. There will also be events/gatherings leading up to the walk so that participants can prepare for the walk mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
The Law Society of Upper Canada has completed its case, including testimony from 14 witnesses, at the misconduct hearing for a lawyer from Kenora, Ont., accused of misconduct on residential school files.
Doug Keshen began his defence on Friday and hearings continue this week in Kenora.
On Feb. 14 — after an eight-year legal battle — an Ontario Supreme Court judge ruled the government violated its "duty to care" when it failed to protect the cultural identity of the Indigenous children removed from their families and communities.
The 16,000 Indigenous children were placed in non-Indigenous homes in Ontario during the 1960s — that action by the federal government has come to be known as the Sixties Scoop.
The plaintiffs are seeking $1.3 billion dollars in damages and negotiating that settlement is the next part of the process.
The Current's guest host Laura Lynch speaks with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett to find out what's next in the process.
TORONTO — The federal government backed off on Friday from its widely panned last-minute plan to force a judge to delay his decision on the ’60s Scoop class-action lawsuit.
That means Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba will now rule on the long-running lawsuit as early as Tuesday.
In an email to the judge obtained by The Canadian Press, a senior Justice Department lawyer said it would not proceed with a formal motion to have him delay the decision.
The proposed motion, Barney Brucker said, was motivated by the “prospect of a negotiated resolution” to both the Ontario action led by plaintiff Marcia Brown Martel as well as other ’60s Scoop litigation before the courts in other provinces.
Le groupe Sixties Scoop fustige le gouvernement fédéral, qui tente d'empêcher les tribunaux de se prononcer sur sa poursuite pour vol d'identité culturelle. Près de 16 000 Autochtones, qui ont été adoptés de 1960 à 1980 en Ontario, réclament 1,3 milliard de dollars en dédommagements. La requête d'Ottawa arrive in extremis, puisque la décision est attendue le 16 février.
Mme Brown Martel n’est pas surprise par la requête du gouvernement fédéral; elle parle de mesures dilatoires pour reporter la cause aux calendes grecques après huit années de procédures judiciaires. Elle traite le gouvernement d’ « hypocrite », parce qu’il s’excuse en public, « mais sa parole n’est jamais suivie d’actions appropriées ».
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