Mr. Speaker, with regard to a) to e) Under the terms of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the Government of Canada is legally obliged to provide existing mental health and emotional support services to those eligible for compensation under the terms of the settlement agreement. Day schools do not meet the criteria set out in the settlement agreement which define Indian residential schools, thus former day school students are not eligible for compensation, nor are they eligible for the mental health and emotional support services provided through Health Canada’s resolution health support program. Requests to include additional schools in the settlement agreement can be submitted to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
Health Canada officials work with former day school students who are seeking mental health and emotional supports to find other services in their community for which they are eligible, such as Health Canada’s non-insured health benefits’ crisis counselling benefit, or mental health services funded through Health Canada’s brighter futures or building health communities programs. Provinces and territories may also be able to provide services.
With regard to f) The program does not collect data on the number of individuals who request service and are denied.
With regard to g) Day schools do not meet the criteria set out in the settlement agreement which define Indian residential schools, thus former day school students are not eligible for resolution health support program services. Health Canada works with these individuals to find other supports in their community that will meet their needs.
Health Canada maintains an appeal process for the professional counselling component of the program, which allows eligible former students to appeal specific decisions made regarding treatment plans, for example, the number of counselling sessions approved by Health Canada. There are three levels of appeal, and in each case supporting information is required and reviewed. Decisions are made based on the client’s needs and the Indian residential schools resolution health support program policies. To date, three appeals have been received by Health Canada. Each has been resolved at the first level of appeal.
With regard to h) All former Indian residential schools students who are eligible under the settlement agreement for the resolution health support program are provided access to services.
With regard to i) The status of a client as a former student or family member is not captured in Health Canada’s data; all eligible individuals are considered clients.
With regard to j) In order to ensure that clients have access to qualified providers, Health Canada has established the following criteria to which mental health providers must subscribe in order to register with the program: providers must be registered as a psychologist with clinical or counselling orientation, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided; or registered as a psychological associate with clinical or counselling orientation, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided; or registered as a social worker, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided, MSW or PhD in social work with clinical orientation; and Masters of Arts, psychology, or Masters of Education degree, and currently supervised by one of the above designations may be accepted if there are no other providers in the vicinity and access to services is limited.
With regard to k) The registration process is directly managed by Health Canada’s regional offices. Providers must meet the minimum work experience as demonstrated on their resume, proof of education, annual proof of current registration with the appropriate regulatory body, clearance certificate with the local policy authority issued within the last 12 months, and in some instances, reference checks. The timeline for registration varies across the regions, but is usually processed within a month.
With regard to l) The aboriginal working caucus existed from 2001 to 2006 and made over 40 recommendations to Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, IRSRC, now INAC, during that time. Fourteen of the recommendations concerned health supports. Twelve of these recommendations have been implemented. These recommendations involved: increasing the availability and types of health supports available to claimants throughout all of the various resolution processes; creating information tools on services available and how to access them; improving access to professional counselling for claimants living in rural and remote communities; providing financial compensation to elders and traditional healers who provide health supports; and increasing the awareness of IRS issues among professional mental health providers. The two recommendations not implemented involved: joining IRSRC’s form filler service with Heath Canada’s resolution health support worker, RHSW, service; and establishing community based healing programs to complement community-based alternative dispute resolution, ADR, mechanisms. Form fillers and RHSWs perform two separate, but complementary, functions. In order to protect the emotional support services provided to former students and maintain current service levels, there is a need to keep these two roles distinct. Under the settlement agreement reached in 2006, ADR has been replaced by the independent assessment process.