Letter to Survivors Re Settlement
Based on what we continue to learn about the proposed settlement, we have decided it is our responsibility to ensure that all survivors have as much information as possible to make informed decisions about the settlement, to know the difference between objecting and opting out, and to know what happens if survivors decide to opt out. The Network’s role is NOT to provide legal advice or to tell you how to respond to the settlement. Instead, we wish to provide information so you are as informed as possible on how it will affect your rights.
As we now understand it, the information leading up to the settlement is as follows:
- Before beginning the Ontario class action lawsuit in 2009, the legal team at Wilson Christen LLP interviewed over 200 Ontario adoptees
- The national settlement-in-principle occurred only because Marcia Brown wanted it to be a national settlement; she did not have to do this and if she had not insisted on national inclusion, we would now be witnessing only 22 communities in Ontario discussing their compensation. Everyone else across the country would be waiting for individual provincial law suits to go through the certification process to see if their lawsuits would be heard in court
- Marcia Brown and her legal team at Wilson Christen negotiated for the settlement amount and the Foundation, as well as for the inclusion of foster and permanent wards
- Class action suits often aim for a settlement of $15 000 to $25 000 per claimant- in this settlement, they negotiated for $25 000 to $50 000 per claimant.
- Generally, class action lawyers take 40% of awards. In this settlement, they have agreed to 10%, shared among the four primary class action teams across the country
- The working group of the Foundation has demonstrated that they are committed to an Indigenous-led Foundation
- There is currently no negotiated settlement for Métis or non-status Indian survivors; although there is now a negotiating table between Canada and the Métis National Council
- The reasons for the exclusion of Métis and non-status Indians from the settlement hinges upon the wording in the 1965 Ontario/Federal child welfare agreement that only accounted for Indigenous children on reserve.
While it is a good thing that the settlement has been greatly expanded, we stand in solidarity with our Métis and non-status brothers and sisters who are not part of this settlement, and we will continue to support them fully in their work towards Métis and non-status reconciliation and settlement processes.
With respect to opting out, we believe it is important for survivors to understand that if you opt-out you waive any right to a cash payout. You can, however, launch your own lawsuit or class action against Canada.
We also believe it is very important for survivors to understand that you do NOT need to hire a lawyer or sign a legal agreement with a law firm to get your settlement payout. There will be a one-page form that will go before an adjudication board. They will access any records necessary to verify your settlement claim.
All of us have the right to object to the settlement. While opting out means you will not be part of the settlement, objecting simply means that you are giving your opinion about it. Objecting will not affect your entitlement to a cash payout.
If you want to lodge an objection, you may do so at www.sixtiesscoopsettlement.info or attend the approval hearing in Saskatoon May 10th and 11th, 2018 in Saskatoon or May 29th and 30th in Toronto, ON.
We are opening the solidarity rallies to create a voice for everyone for or against the campaign, to provide more information to survivors, and to voice our solidarity with our Métis brothers and sisters.
If you have any more questions, please contact us or contact one of the four settlement law firms:
Jeffrey Wilson, Wilson Christen LLP and Morris Cooper (Toronto, Ontario)
1-866-360-5952 ext. 217
Saskatchewan and Alberta
Tony Merchant, Merchant Law Group LLP
Celeste Poltak, Koskie Minsky LLP
Manitoba Action: 1-844-819-8527
Saskatchewan Action: 1-855-595-2621
Other Provinces or Territories
If you live outside of the above provinces, you can contact any of the lawyers listed above.
We encourage everyone to participate in the rallies and to learn more, to stand in solidarity with each other, and to support a just resolution for all Métis and non-status Sixties Scoop Survivors.
If you have any non-legal questions, please give us a call at 1-866 456 6060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network