Federal Court certifies class action seeking compensation for Indigenous students abused at government-operated day schools

21 June 2018

On June 21, 2018, Justice Michael Phelan of the Federal Court certified a class action (the "McLean Class Action") that seeks compensation for the damages and abuses suffered by all students who were forced to attend Indian Day Schools and were excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Indian Day Schools include day schools established or designated as such by the federal Department of Indian Affairs at which Indigenous students across Canada were required, under the Indian Act, to attend, and that were funded in part or solely by the federal government. Unlike Indian Residential Schools, students did not reside at Indian Day Schools except in very limited circumstances. In most cases, Indian Day Schools were operated and maintained by the same religious organizations administering Indian Residential Schools. Students who attended Indian Day Schools have reported suffering the very same types of physical, sexual, and psychological abuses experienced by students who attended Indian Residential Schools.

In 2009, Garry McLean started a legal action regarding the forced attendance of Indigenous students at Indian Day Schools across Canada.

The McLean Class Action covers all students who attended Indian Day Schools that operated separate and apart from Indian Residential Schools. This includes students who are Metis or Inuit, as well as First Nations students. The Class Action also includes the families of students who attended Indian Day Schools.

The Plaintiffs are represented by class counsel Robert Winogron and Jeremy Bouchard of Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP.


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