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Asking for an IAP Decision Review

You and the Independent Assessment Process (IAP)

The IAP is an out of court, alternative dispute resolution process. The IAP is part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (SA) which was implemented in September 2007. The Government of Canada signed this agreement with former IRS students and their lawyers as well as with legal counsel for the Assembly of First Nations and the churches which administered the schools.

Under the SA the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) independently administers IAP claims in a fair and impartial manner.

Why ask for an IAP Decision Review?

If you disagree with an adjudicator’s decision, you can request a review for the following two reasons:

  • Palpable and overriding error”: You can request a review of an adjudicator’s decision if it contains a clear and telling error. An example is if the adjudicator’s decision is based on a misunderstanding of the evidence of your claim.
  • Improper application of the IAP model to the facts as found by the adjudicator”: You can request a review of an adjudicator’s decision if the adjudicator has correctly understood the evidence, but the decision is not according to IAP rules. An example is if the adjudicator does not award the correct number of points for the level of abuse you suffered.

How will a review affect a decision on my claim?

If the review involves “palpable and overriding error”, a second adjudicator can uphold the original decision, change it, or order a new hearing. If the review deals with improper IAP model application, the Chief Adjudicator or his designate can uphold the original decision or correct it.

In both cases, the second adjudicator’s decision to uphold the original decision or order a new hearing is final. However, if the second adjudicator changes the original decision a claimant and the other parties have the right to request a second decision review. This is done in the same manner as the first decision review request.

What will an adjudicator consider in reviewing a decision?

The reviewing adjudicator will take a decision after reading written statements from the claimant and other parties as well as the documents from the original hearing. Examples of such documents include transcripts, claimant documents, the Government of Canada’s research documents and the application form. No new evidence is allowed on a review, and there will be no oral submissions.

How do I ask for an IAP decision review?

If you want to ask for a decision review, write to the Chief Adjudicator’s office within 30 days of receiving the original decision. You should include a written statement outlining why you think the decision is wrong. This statement must not exceed 1,500 words, unless the Chief Adjudicator allows you to exceed this limit.

Once the Chief Adjudicator receives your request, he will send a copy to the Government of Canada and any church organization that participated in your hearing. They will have 30 days to provide a reply of 1000 words or less. You will receive a copy of this reply. If you want to make further submissions after receiving the reply, you will need to ask the Chief Adjudicator for permission.

Once all submissions are received, the reviewing adjudicator will usually write a decision within 30 days. Compensation, if any, cannot be paid until the review process is completed.

Can anyone else appeal the decision on my claim?

In some cases, the Government of Canada or the church organization participating in your hearing (the ‘defendants’) can request a review. This can happen if the defendants think the decision did not “properly apply the IAP Model to the facts as found by the adjudicator.” If your claim was heard in the complex issues track, the defendants can request a review if there is a “palpable and overriding error.”

If the defendants request a review, the Chief Adjudicator’s office will give you a copy of their request. You will have 30 days to provide a reply of 1,000 words or less, unless the Chief Adjudicator gives you permission to submit a longer reply. You may wish to consult with a lawyer about your reply. As with claimantrequested reviews, the reviewing adjudicator will take a decision based on the submissions and documents from the original hearing. No new evidence or oral submissions will be accepted.

What else do I need to know about review decisions?

You can get more information at or calling toll-free 1-877-635-2648.

October 2011