Independent Assessment Process

Independent Assessment Process

The Independent Assessment Process (IAP) is a settlement fund for claims of sexual abuses, serious physical abuse and other wrongful acts. It is different from the Common Experience Payment (CEP), as the CEP provides money to anyone who was a resident of an Indian Residential School, and the IAP provides money to those who experienced serious physical and/or sexual abuse at an Indian Residential School. Through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, $960 million has been allotted for the IAP. The maximum payment is $275,000, but an additional $250,000 may be awarded for claims of actual income loss.

The IAP was created to resolve claims of abuse at Indian Residential Schools. The IAP compensates for three categories of claims:

  • First, sexual and physical assaults, as particularized in the IAP, which were committed by an adult employee of the residential school or another adult who was lawfully on the premises;
  • Second, sexual or physical assaults, as particularized in the IAP, committed by one student against another at residential school, in which case staff knew or should have known about the abuse; or, in serious sexual abuse cases, where reasonable supervision standards were not in place;
  • Third, any other wrongful act or acts committed by an adult employee or another adult lawfully on the premises where the abuse caused serious psychological consequences for the claimant, as particularized in the IAP.


The IAP is available to any resident of an Indian Residential School who experienced: • Sexual abuse; • Serious physical abuse; or • Other wrongful acts that caused serious psychological consequences, when you were a student or resident of a listed Indian Residential School and you did not decide to opt out from the settlement agreement which created this IAP.

It is also available to those who were not a former student or resident, but have experienced: • Sexual abuse; • Serious physical abuse; or • Other wrongful acts that caused serious psychological consequences, when you were allowed to be on the grounds of a listed Indian Residential School to take part in an authorized activity (for example, a sports event), and you were under 21 when the abuse happened.

Any student who has already settled their claim through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process may not make another claim through the IAP. However, if no settlement has been reached, the student may transfer their case from the ADR process to the IAP. As well, anyone whose abuse claim was dismissed at a trial is not eligible.


The first step in the IAP involves the student completing and submitting an application form, which asks for personal information, detailed accounts of the abuse they suffered, and how that abuse has affected their lives.

The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat admits eligible claimants to the IAP and informs them of their admission. Applicants with potentially eligible claims may be sent a request for more information and ineligible applicants are told the reason(s) why they are not eligible to the IAP. The priority of a claim is based on the health and age of the claimant.

 The government researches the claims. During this process the claimant may have to submit documents to support their claims, which can include records of: treatment, workers’ compensation, corrections, income tax, employment insurance and secondary/post-secondary school. An attempt may be made to resolve the claim without a hearing.

A hearing is held before Adjudicator. The claimant describes their residential school experience and is only questioned by the Adjudicator. Witnesses, alleged abusers, and experts may also give information to the Adjudicator and answer questions. Claimants will not have to come face-to-face with the person who abused them

Following the hearing, the adjudicator will produce a written decision to the parties through their legal counsel, unless they have chose to represent themselves, that will include the facts that were presented and the reasons for his/her findings. The decision will also indicate what the compensation, if any, will be. The decision must be provided, in writing, within 30 days of the hearing for a standard complaint or 45 days if the complaint includes loss of income and/or opportunity.

Either party may request that a review of the decision be conducted by the Chief adjudicator or another adjudicator. In the case of a review, the parties may submit a short statement that indicates their belief that the IAP model was not properly applied, resulting in an error. If the second adjudicator finds that there was an error, he/she may overturn the decision or order a new hearing. 

If the student is not satisfied with the results of a review, he/she may proceed to a civil action in the courts.

Deceased IAP Claims

The Indian Residential Schools adjudication secretariat will receive and process claims on behalf of deceased former students who: resided at an Indian Residential school prior to December 31, 1997; was alive on May 30, 2005; and did not opt out of the settlement agreement. 

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for claims to proceed when a claimant has already passed on, and it is strongly recommended that legal counsel be consulted in these situations. The claims must be submitted on behalf of the estate of a deceased claimant by a duly appointed executor or the estate’s legal counsel, and the IAP requires legal proof that you are authorized to act on behalf of the claimant’s estate. The IAP also requires that claimants appear before an adjudicator to give evidence and answer questions. The adjudicator may not be able to award compensation if the former student did not give sworn evidence before they died, unless other witnesses are available to provide evidence.

Group IAP

Individuals who share similarities (such as attendance at a school or belonging to a community) and desire to proceed through the IAP process together can apply to do so as a group. Group IAP offers a resolution process for individuals to proceed together through the IAP as an established group. Groups admitted to the IAP can be supported by contribution funding to pay for activities that will help them obtain support for healing and reconciliation. To proceed as a group, each member must first apply individually to the IAP, and once admitted the claimants may apply to proceed through the IAP as a group.

The group must submit a Resolution Plan that:

  • Lists the names of the group members;
  • Indicates the process by which the group makes its decisions;
  • Details how members support each other or how they intend to do so through the process;
  • Details the specific activities the group proposes to participate in during the process to ensure a healthy and lasting resolution of their claims;
  • Indicates the group is willing to incorporate or work through an already established organization; and
  • Includes a budget for the proposed activities.

Funding is provided through an agreement with an incorporated organization or entity designated by the group to manage their Group IAP initiative. The amount of funding available is based upon a maximum of $3500 per group member. This funding can be used by a Group for:

  • Coordinator and administrative wages;
  • Holding workshops to support the members and their families through the process;
  • Accommodations. Meals and transportation costs for Group IAP members to participate in group functions related to issues for resolving their claim; and
  • Engaging and training community members or relatives of the participants so they can support the survivor at home.

Each group will have a coordinator who is responsible for organizing meetings and workshops; arranging group health supports and related resource materials; and providing additional support to group members to promote healing and resolution of their IAP claims. Workshops could include health and wellness, knowledge on money management, cultural teachings and other areas identified by the group. Having the right person as the group’s coordinator to organize the activities requested by the group is vital to the successful completion of a project. Adjudication Secretariat staff are available to assist and support the group through the process.

Persons Of Interest

When a survivor claims physical or sexual abuse on their IAP Application Form, the person named becomes a POI. Survivors have named: adults conducting school business, staff, clergy, and other students if involved in school activities on or off school grounds. POIs are contacted by the Dispute Resolution Office at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in order to: respect human rights legislation (anyone having allegations made against them has the right to be told about it, have the chance to respond to any allegations made about them if they want to, and check to see if the Survivor’s story is credible.