Despite the settlement agreement reached in November 2017, thousands of Sixties Scoop survivors are still waiting for their cheques.
“We’ve been waiting all our lives for this to happen,” said Shirley Corrie, a Sixties Scoop survivor. “Trudeau was happy to release $500 million for approved applicants. But then he put it over to Collectiva to handle the disbursement and now thousands of us are still waiting.”
As of June 25th, 2020, 36,747 claims were submitted. Of those, only 12,751 had been processed, leaving the majority of applicants wondering whether they will ever receive compensation. Even among approved claims, many are waiting for the settlements they were promised.
“I’m calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and the Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett to take action and expedite this process,” said Kim Beaudin, National Vice-Chief for the Congress Aboriginal Peoples (CAP). “It is absurd to say survivors can afford to wait even longer because we’re in the middle of a pandemic. This compensation is even more important in a crisis.”
A federal court order issued on March 27th and an Ontario court order issued on June 1st, ordered initial payments for those who had been approved to be released. Despite these orders, many approved claims await compensation, sparking criticisms that Collectvia continues to delay processing. Initial deadlines were put on hold due to COVID-19 further delaying access to funding.
“I’m counting on this money to grow my business,” said Corrie. “It’s difficult enough with COVID-19 delays on importing equipment at the border and supply chain problems. I can’t afford to spend my time reminding them to do their job too. I would just like an answer.”
“The rollout has been a mess. We were expecting payment in January, then spring and now summer is slipping away,” said Cheryl Taniskishayinew, a fellow Sixties Scoop survivor. “I was counting on this payment to help me participate in this year’s rain dance ceremonies, but the delays mean I will probably miss it. This compensation was for loss of culture and taking away our identities and now another year is going by without that experience.”
Others in the Métis and non-Status community have no idea if they will receive compensation at all under the initial compensation announcement from the Government of Canada in December 2018.
A class action lawsuit for Métis and non-Status Indian survivors continues to be processed through the courts. Survivors continue to wait for government to follow through on the pledge from 2018 to settle outstanding claims.