Today, the Federal Court of Canada approved an order allowing us to issue interim payments of $21,000 to all Eligible Class Members. To date, over 12,500 individuals have been deemed eligible for individual payment as part of a national settlement between the Government of Canada and plaintiffs representing Sixties Scoop Survivors. We understand that a similar order to issue interim payments is also being put in front of the Ontario Superior Court, which also presides over the Settlement. We anticipate hearing a decision soon.
This announcement comes in the wake of delays to the claims process resulting from COVID-19. To protect public health, a number of provincial archives have closed. These archives contain important information that we need in order to verify some people’s claims. Further, social distancing has created barriers for Applicants seeking information and support to back up claims that we have flagged as incomplete.
Under these circumstances, the fair and necessary thing to do was to make sure no one’s application is denied while we’re still in this period of uncertainty. Because of this decision, it will take a little longer to determine the total number of eligible applications and, therefore, the final individual payment amount that each person will ultimately receive.
We recognize the huge emotional toll this delay has had on Applicants. Please know that it is our highest priority to get Eligible Class members the payments they are owed as quickly as possible.
The approval process is still moving forward
For Applicants still awaiting a decision on their application, we understand your anxiety and frustration. We want you to know that, while we are not denying claims right now, we are still doing the work to approve them. Those efforts are more difficult because of the pandemic, but they are ongoing.
We can also confirm that Applicants whose applications are approved in the weeks and months ahead will also receive the interim payment of $21,000.
The pause on application denials and timelines is a critical opportunity for Applicants who received a “Notice of Intent to Reject” letter dated in February or March of 2020. Our strong advice to Applicants is to get in touch with Class Counsel, who can review your claim and offer guidance. Applicants have the right to legal support from the four law firms involved in the settlement. The cost of these legal services is paid for by the settlement and you can access them at no additional cost to you. Please find contact information on this page below.
Currently, we are closely monitoring provincial public health updates and are in discussion with our Indigenous partners to determine a threshold for when it will be safe and fair to reinstate timelines for incomplete applications and to resume the process of issuing denials, where appropriate.
We don’t yet know when we’ll be able to issue final payments for Eligible Class Members, but we do know that all parties are planning to return to court to seek an order that will answer that question. We’ll provide an update on that as soon as one is available.
We truly hope that today’s announcement offers a glimmer of optimism for Applicants. We are fully committed to keeping you as informed as possible in this evolving situation and we are grateful for your patience.
Top Four Questions
Here are answers to some questions you may have about this update:
- How soon will I get an interim payment?
Right now we are still waiting for the Ontario Court to approve the interim payment order (it is in the process of being put before the Court). As soon as the order is approved, we will start issuing payments to Eligible Class Members.
- I haven’t gotten an approval notice. What should I do?
We know how difficult and stressful this waiting period is. We want you to know that we are still doing the hard work to review claims and we are still sending out approvals as quickly as we can. We are grateful for your patience.
- What if I got a “notice of intent to reject” letter or an “Official Rejection” letter? What should I do?
If you received one of these letters dated in February or March of 2020, the good news is that you now have more time to respond. We strongly recommend that you connect with Class Counsel for their guidance, which is your right and is already paid for by settlement.
- If my application is approved later, can I still get an Interim Payment? Will the money run out?
Yes, you will be able to get an interim payment if your application is approved in the weeks or months ahead. The money will not run out. Given the total number of outstanding claims, the interim payment will not deplete the total available funds.
For more information, please see today’s news release: CLICK HERE