Call for Extension to Day School Compensation

·2 min read

A Northern Ontario MPP says it’s not right to make people fill out more paperwork to get compensation for attending Residential Day school.

The deadline to apply for the Day Schools Settlement passed on Wednesday. According to administrators of the compensation fund, people who have missed the deadline have until Jan. 13, 2023 to fill out an extension request form.

“Extend that deadline,” said Sol Mamakwa, who represents the riding of Kiiwetinoong for the Ontario NDP.

“I went to Indian Day School for nine years. I did my application and it took me a long time to be able to do it.”

Mamakwa said the decision makers ”should just remove that step where you have to apply to get an extension.”

“It’s a difficult process,” Mamakwa said. ”[Former students] have blocked it for years, but to actually talk about it, people don’t understand how hard it can be… how traumatic it can be just to talk about it again.”

In a media release, the Matawa Chiefs Council said they are still hearing about people, including elders and vulnerable people in their communities, who haven’t filled out a claim.

"Although it may seem like four years was an adequate amount of time — some unexpected extenuating circumstances that were not taken into account at the time that the Settlement Agreement was made," the council wrote in the release.

They cited COVID-19 and lack of supports as some reasons why people may have not filed.

The council also said people could still lose out on their compensation if the reasons for their extension request aren’t accepted by an exceptions committee.

Administrators of the settlement fund have indicated on the website that mental health and wellness support will continue via a toll-free number or online chat until the end of the extension period.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source

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