The last-minute scramble for victims of the Indian Residential School system to apply for government compensation is underway with the extended deadline less than two months away.
Individuals have until Sept. 19 to apply for two separate compensation processes.
Anyone who resided at a residential school may apply under the Common Experience Payment (CEP). Compensation under CEP is $10,000 for the first year and $3,000 for each additional year spent as a student.
More than 78,000 individuals have been paid out under the CEP with an average sum of $20,000. More than $1.68-billion of the allotted $1.9-billion CEP fund has been awarded to claimants.
Victims of physical or sexual abuse can also apply for compensation under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). Original projections anticipated roughly 12,500 applications under the IAP.
To date, 29,700 applications have been made and more than 16,000 completed, with an average payout of $117,000.
While a spokesperson for the department of aboriginal affairs and northern development said it was impossible to speculate the total cost of the program, as of June 20 $1.55 billion has been paid out to IAP claimants.
Some Indian Residential Schools are not included on the government's list of qualifying institutions. Government statistics show 39% of rejected CEP claims were from individuals whose schools were not included on the list.
A whopping 92% of applications for compensation under IAP have been accepted.
Sen. Patrick Brazeau called the compensation system "a good first step."
"The only thing I find uncomfortable is that the compensation for those First Nations people who went to residential schools is nothing compared to what the lawyers who worked on those cases made," he said. "That's outrageous."