CANADA ABANDONS ITS APPEAL OF THE DECISION TO ADD STIRLAND LAKE AND CRISTAL LAKE TO LIST OF ELIGIBLE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

DEADLINE TO FILE IAP AND CEP APPLICATIONS IS SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

On August 16, 2011, Chief Justice Winkler granted NAN and Windigo's request and directed that Stirland Lake (also known as Wahbon Bay Academy) and Cristal Lake residential high schools (the "schools") be added to the list of Indian Residential Schools, thereby entitling former students to apply for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) and the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) relating to their attendance at these schools.

Unfortunately, Canada chose to challenge the decision of Chief Justice Winkler by filing an Appeal of his Order on December 16, 2011.

Susan Vella of Rochon, Genova LLP was retained on behalf of Windigo and NAN to resist Canada's appeal, which was originally scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal on May 16, 2012.

On March 2, 2012, Canada brought a motion to stay the Order of Chief Justice Winkler until after the hearing of the Appeal. This would have meant that, despite the requirement that former students of the Schools file their CEP and/or IAP applications prior to the September 19, 2012 deadline, Canada would not begin processing these applications or paying compensation to former students of the Schools until after the hearing of the Appeal. Ms. Vella vehemently disagreed with Canada's approach on this issue and, accordingly, fought to resist Canada's motion and brought her own cross-motion requesting an expedited hearing date for the Appeal.

On March 27, 2012, Justice Watt, of the Ontario Court of Appeal, rendered a decision in relation to Canada's motion, wherein he agreed with Ms. Vella's arguments, dismissed Canada's motion and ordered that the Appeal be heard on an expedited basis.

We are pleased to announce that, upon receiving Justice Watt's decision, Canada abandoned its appeal on April 2, 2012! Therefore, Chief Justice Winkler's Order stands and Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake are now added to the list of eligible Indian Residential Schools.

This means that former students of Stirland lake and Cristal Lake should submit their applications for the CEP and, if applicable, the IAP now.

The deadline for filing your CEP and/or IAP applications remains September 19, 2012. Note that the CEP deadline expired for all other residential schools on September 19, 2011. Ms. Vella obtained an extension of the CEP deadline for Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake only to September 19, 2012.

You should still seek legal advice with respect to your IAP application as it can be a difficult process.Contact Susan Vella if you wish her and her team to assist you with the filing of your IAP and CEP claims before the September 19th, 2012 deadline expires.