Trigger warning: Readers may be triggered by the recount of Indian Residential Schools. To access a 24-hour National Crisis Line, call: 1-866-925-4419. Community Assistance Program (CAP) can be accessed by Anishinabek Nation member first nation citizens: 1-800-663-1142.



This section includes general information about legal resources that may be available for Indian Residential School Survivors and their families when considering their options under the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). This information is not legal advice and should not be used as such.

The video was developed to provide claimants in the Independent Assessment Process with information about what to expect at their Independent Assessment Process hearing. The video explains the rights that claimants have under the Independent Assessment Process, and discuss the roles and responsibilities of participants at the hearing, and all parting to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.


There are many lawyers in Ontario, but choosing the right lawyer for your claim to the Independent Assessment Process is very important.

It is important that you feel comfortable with the lawyer. If you don’t feel comfortable with your lawyer, find another one.

You should not be pressured to sign a retainer with a lawyer right away. If the lawyer you are meeting with is pressuring you into signing a retainer, do not sign anything and walk away. A good lawyer will not force you to do anything if you’re not comfortable doing it. Remember that you are interviewing the lawyer to see if they will do a good job with your case. Here are some questions that you should ask the lawyer:

  • How long has the lawyer been practicing law?
  • How much experience does the lawyer have with claims to the Independent Assessment Process as part of the
    Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement?
  • How does the lawyer think your case should be handled?
  • What will the lawyer expect from you throughout the case?
  • How will the lawyer let you know what is going on with your case?
  • How can you contact the lawyer?
  • How is the lawyer expecting to be paid?

After meeting with the lawyer, giving him the information about your case, and asking him questions, you will be in a better place to make a decision about whether or not you want to hire that lawyer. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I comfortable talking and being around this lawyer?
  • Does the lawyer have experience with claims?
  • Did the lawyer speak with you in a normal language, or did he use legal language that you didn’t understand?
  • Did the lawyer explain the payment options clearly?

In addition to the questions above, make sure that you read the Guidelines below before making your final decision on which lawyer you will select to help you with your case to the Independent Assessment Process.