Indian residential school survivors who want to apply for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) need to do so by September 19, 2011. All Indian residential school survivors who lived at one or more eligible schools and did not opt out of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement by August 19, 2007 can apply for compensation under the Common Experience Payment. Survivors are still eligible for the Common Experience Payment even if they did not attend the school for the full school year. The Common Experience Payment is $10,000 for the first school year, and $3,000 for each additional school year. If your client receives a Common Experience Payment, his or her social assistance benefits will not be affected. However, if he or she owes child or spousal support payments, those payments may be taken out of their Common Experience Payment.
To apply for the Common Experience Payment, clients need to fill out a Common Experience Payment (CEP) application form. Your client does not need a lawyer to fill out the form. If your client is unable to fill out the form themselves, there is a separate application form that you or another personal representative of your client can fill out on his or her behalf. If your client wants to apply on behalf of a parent who passed away on or after May 30, 2005, your client can do so using the personal representative’s application form (as above), provided that he or she is the appointed executor of estate or the parent signed a will. If the parent did not sign a will, your client will need to contact Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
For more information on the Common Experience Payment and how to apply, you or your client can call 1-866-699-1742 (no charge) or visit Service Canada’s website. Those who have difficulty with their hearing or speech can call 1-800-926-9105 (TTY, no charge). The Indian Residential Schools Settlement: The Common Experience Payment and the Independent Assessment Process fact sheet and A Guide to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement contain detailed, easy-to-understand information on the settlement agreement, the Common Experience Payment and the Independent Assessment Process and how to apply, how to get legal help, and where to get emotional help and support.
Note: Applying for the Common Experience Payment may bring back painful and traumatic memories for your client. If he or she becomes upset, your client can call the Indian Residential Schools 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 (no charge). The crisis line will help your client get emotional and crisis services.