Canada to pay $2B in residential school reparations lawsuit for harming Indigenous heritage

The Parliament of Canada located in Ottawa. (Courtesy: Greg B)

The Canadian government has settled a lawsuit in regards to residential school reparations that comes with a $2 billion price tag. 

The money awarded will go to hundreds of Indigenous communities who, as a result of cultural genocide, have taken losses to their heritage, language and culture.

The class action was brought on by 325 Indigenous groups who collectively agreed they were entitled to monetary compensation for the pain and suffering they, along with their ancestors, endured for over 100 years.  

“It is going to take incredible efforts by our Nations to restore our languages and culture – this settlement gives Nations the resources and tools needed to make a good start,” Rosanne Casimir, from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said in a statement on Jan. 21.

The full $2.8 billion settlement will be put in a trust fund, independent of the federal government, that will be distributed over the next two decades, if the court approves the deal.

The lawsuit was first launched in 2012.

“We believe that all Survivors deserve justice and the compensation to which they are owed,” Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Marc Miller said.

“As we finalize this settlement, we are reminded of the importance of collaborative dialogue and partnership in resolving historic grievances outside of the court system,” he added. 

Along with a loss of culture, it is known that between 3,000 and 6,000 students lost their lives in the Canadian Indian residential school system, many of which suffered both physical and sexual abuse. 

The exact number of deaths is currently undetermined due to incomplete records.

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