On August 15, 2009, Peter Grant of the law firm attended at the National Council of the Canadian Bar Association in Dublin, Ireland. On behalf of the National Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association he made the following Resolution which was passed in support of survivors of Indian residential schools. The Resolution states:
WHEREAS comprehensive studies, including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Law Commission of Canada’s Restoring Dignity: Responding to Child Abuse in Canadian Institutions, have documented the immediate individual harm and the long term collective harm caused by Canadian government efforts to eradicate aboriginal language and culture by placing aboriginal children in Indian Residential Schools;
WHEREAS the Canadian Bar Association has recognized the extreme vulnerability of survivors of Indian Residential Schools, and the potential for further harm in seeking to resolve their claims through litigation;
WHEREAS, under related government policies, other aboriginal children lost language and culture and were abused physically, sexually and psychologically while compelled to attend school in other settings, such as Indian Day Schools or hospitals and sanatoriums, or in boarding and foster homes associated with Indian Residential or Day Schools;
WHEREAS the government of Canada has established dispute resolution processes to give Residential School survivors an alternative to the litigation process, but those who experienced the same harms in other settings have been barred from resolving their claims in this manner;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association urged the government of Canada to expand the scope of the Residential Schools Dispute Resolution Independent Assessment and Common Experience Payment processes to include, or alternatively to establish separate but materially similar dispute resolution processes for, other persons who lost language and culture or suffered physical, sexual or psychological abuse while compelled to attend schools for Aboriginal children.
The Canadian Bar Association asked Mr. Grant to raise questions concerning the Resolution with the Minister of Justice during the question period with the Minister held on August 17 in Dublin. The Minister of Justice confirmed that he would investigate the issue.
The Canadian Bar Association has requested Mr. Grant to assist in the follow up with the Department of Justice and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs regarding the implementation of this Resolution.