Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General)

The Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a decision on October 15, 2014 in Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), granting the Government of Canada's Request for Directions in order to dismiss two related claims that various temporary hostel arrangements and Inuit guardianship placements should be recognized as "institutions" under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (the "Agreement").

The first of these claims was brought by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and two individual claimants and was made in respect of various guardian arrangements and temporary hostel arrangements. This claim was not pursued at the hearing and therefore dismissed. The second claim was made by an individual claimant, Aguiak Novalinga, with respect to a specific temporary hostel arrangement on Belcher Islands where he resided between 1959 and 1964. Novalinga primarily sought an oral appeal from a decision to dismiss his application for the Common Experience Payment ("CEP") for former students of Indian Residential Schools covered by the Agreement, and in the alternative he sought to have the hostel at which he resided recognized as an Indian Residental School ("IRS") under the Agreement. The court dismissed his application to have the hostel recognized as an IRS on the basis that Novalinga's materials failed to provide sufficient evidence for the court to determine the federal government's degree of responsibility over the historic hostel arrangement at issue. The court also noted that it could have dismissed Novalinga's application on the basis of procedural failings alone. Novalinga was given until October 16, 2014 to complete the forms required to appeal from the dismissal of his CEP application, but the court noted that he is not entitled to an oral hearing before the court for that appeal.

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