Last chance for CEP residential school applications
About 2,450 Nunavut Inuit have applied so far
Former students of aboriginal residential schools have one last chance to apply for compensation under the Common Experience Payment program.
The deadline for receipt of CEP applications falls on Sept. 19.
To date, 4,364 Inuit have applied and received a CEP cheque, according to the federal government’s latest numbers.
Of those claimants, 2,451 come from Nunavut.
B.J. Barnes, the residential school settlement agreement coordinator at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., says she has received more inquiries about CEP eligibility in recent months.
Barnes, whose job is to provide information and support to Nunavummiut who wish to apply, said she thinks the increased interest is due to the recent tour of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to northern communities.
That commission, a creation of the the residential schools settlement agreement, gathers statements from former residential school students, as it did in public meetings in several Nunavut and Nunavik communities this past March.
“The commission really helped to advocate for the CEP process,” Barnes said. “Some people are starting to realize now that they’re eligible. Any residential school survivor is eligible to apply, even if they don’t feel that they suffered abuse.”
Unlike the Independent Assessment Process – another component of the settlement — CEP applicants do not need to provide information about abuse they may have endured while at school.
Eligible former students can receive $10,000 under the CEP for the first year of school they attended and $3,000 for each additional year.
And all former students who resided at a residential school are eligible for the CEP, as long as they did not opt out of the settlement agreement.
But NTI wants to expand the list of schools approved under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to help more Inuit gain access to compensation.
There are many cases where Inuit have been denied CEP, the organization, and that’s not because of they don’t qualify.
It’s because it’s not clear if the federal government had the sole responsibility over the particular school they stayed in when they were enrolled.
Application reviews and opportunities to appeal decision will continue beyond the Sept. 19 deadline.
The CEP application form is available here: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/goc/cep/index.shtml