The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) is an important milestone in the history of Canada’s Indigenous people. The agreement was signed in 2006 and implemented in the same year, following a class-action lawsuit filed by Indigenous people who had been subjected to abuse and mistreatment in residential schools.
The IRSSA aimed to provide compensation and healing to the survivors of residential schools, which were government-funded and church-run institutions that aimed to assimilate Indigenous children into European-Canadian culture. The schools were operational throughout Canada for more than a century, from the 1870s to the late 1990s, and were notorious for their harsh conditions and practices, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and cultural suppression.
The IRSSA was the result of years of negotiations between the Canadian government, Indigenous organizations, and survivors of residential schools. The agreement provided three main components: a common experience payment, an independent assessment process, and funding for healing and commemoration.
The common experience payment was a one-time, tax-free payment of $10,000 to all eligible residential school survivors who had suffered abuse or mistreatment. The payment was designed to acknowledge the harm caused by residential schools and provide some measure of compensation to the survivors.
The independent assessment process was established to provide compensation to survivors who had suffered serious abuse or harm in residential schools. The process involved an assessment of the survivor’s experience by an independent adjudicator, who determined the amount of compensation based on the severity and duration of the abuse.
Finally, the IRSSA provided funding for healing and commemoration initiatives, including the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The commission was tasked with documenting the history and legacy of residential schools, and with promoting healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
In conclusion, the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement was implemented in 2006, and it aimed to provide compensation and healing to the survivors of residential schools. The agreement was an important step towards acknowledging the harm caused by residential schools and promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. While there is still much work to be done to address the ongoing legacy of residential schools, the IRSSA remains a significant achievement in Canada’s history.