The deadline for Canadian native people to sign up for a multibillion-dollar national settlement came and went on Monday, with the critical number of people agreeing to take the money.
An estimated 80,000 residential school survivors are still alive.
If 5,000 had refused the settlement, Ottawa would have had the right to scrap the deal. But few declined, meaning an aboriginal who was forced to be away from his or her family while attending a residential school will get an average $27,000.
The minimum payment is $10,000, plus $3,000 for each year he or she spent in a residential school. The federal government forced generations of native children to attend residential schools run by six Christian denominations. Stories of dislocation as well as physical and sexual abuse are typical of their experiences. The policy continued up to the 1960s. Under the settlement, victims of the worst physical or sexual abuse can get up to $250,000 and up to another $250,000 if it cost them lost income over the years.
Those who opted out of the settlement process will not receive any money through the common-experience payment option or through the independent assessment process.
However, they retain the right to sue the government or churches on their own.