Common Experience Payment

The Common Experience Payment (CEP) is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The CEP recognizes the experience of residing at an Indian Residential School and its impacts.

Eligible applicants may receive $10,000 for the first school year (or partial school year) of residence at one or more residential schools, plus an additional $3,000 for each subsequent school year (or partial school year) of residence at one or more residential schools. Eligible recipients will receive a one-time payment of their full CEP entitlement.

Applications for the CEP are no longer being accepted. The deadline to submit late applications was September 19, 2012. The application deadline for Mistassini Hostels was September 3, 2013. Additional information is available at Indian Residential Schools Settlement - Official Court Website.

This program was delivered by Service Canada in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Applications submitted after the deadline

As per the Settlement Agreement, applications were accepted for up to one year after the application deadline only in such cases where the applicant could not apply within the designated timeframe due to disability, undue hardship or other exceptional circumstances.

The one year late application deadline (exceptional circumstances) has passed as of September 19, 2012. Applications for the CEP are no longer accepted.

Information on applications received prior to deadline

Incomplete applications

In order to facilitate the processing of applications for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), all initial applications need to include identification information and documentation listed on the application form.

If Service Canada determines that information is missing to process the initial application for CEP, Service Canada will take steps to contact the applicant by calling and sending a letter.

If you are a CEP applicant and have received a letter or phone call, you are encouraged to contact Service Canada at 1-866-699-1742 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105).

You should also mail necessary information and/or documents directly to:

CEP Processing Centre
100-6712 Fisher St SE
Calgary AB T2H 2A7

If Service Canada is unable to contact you after 45 days, you will receive a letter indicating that your CEP application will be placed on hold and will not be processed until the additional information is received.

If you do not agree with the decision

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive to your initial application, you may submit a request to have it reviewed by filling out the Request for Reconsideration form. (PDF version, 46 KB).

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, the settlement agreement gives you the right to appeal the decision to the National Administration Committee.

You will have received a letter that provides details about the decision. The letter you received outlines the steps you can take to appeal the decision. Included with that letter is an appeal application form.

Status of my application

Your application will be sent to the Service Canada CEP Processing Centre. Once there, Service Canada will begin processing your application. We will work very closely with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to do this as quickly as possible.

Using the information you provided on your application, AANDC will research school records and provide Service Canada with confirmation as to the school(s) you lived in and how long you were there.

If your application is complete and AANDC has the records needed to confirm your school residency, you will receive a letter confirming your eligibility for a CEP. Additionally, you will receive either:

  • A notification that your CEP has been deposited directly into your bank account (if you provided your bank information on your application); or
  • A cheque in the amount you were deemed to be eligible for.

If your application is incomplete or identity documents are missing, or if we require further information, we will contact you by phone or letter, detailing what is needed to help us avoid a delay in processing your application.

Unless additional information or research is required to process your application, your payment should be issued by Service Canada within 35 days of submitting your complete application.

If you have not received any communication regarding your application after 35 days, you may call 1-866-699-1742 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105) for more information on the status of your application.

Applying on behalf of someone else

A Common Experience Payment (CEP) application form is available specifically for personal representatives acting legally on behalf of former students who are minors, mentally incompetent, or deceased. This form is also available from any Service Canada Centre.

If you have become a representative over the affairs of someone who has a CEP application in progress, you will need to contact us to explain the situation and submit a completed representative application.

If you are an applicant and choose to have someone communicate with Service Canada regarding your CEP file, please submit a completed representative form.

If you would like to receive a form by mail, please call Service Canada to request one. Our toll-free numbers for CEP are:

  • 1 866 699-1742
  • TTY: 1 800 926-9105
Certified copy

A "certified copy" is a photocopy of an original identity document that has been certified as being a true and accurate copy of the original document.

You can submit certified copies of secondary identity documents with your Common Experience Payment (CEP) application, as long as you do not have an original birth certificate and do not wish to submit original secondary identity documents.

Information on applications received after deadline

Applications received after the deadline

Applications postmarked after 11:59 p.m. on September 19, 2012 will not be considered and will be sent back to the applicant with a letter indicating that it was submitted too late.

For further information on the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and the Common Experience Payment please visit the Indian Residential Schools Settlement - Official Court website.

Financial Information

Impact on other social benefits or income taxes

The Common Experience Payment will not affect other social benefits or income taxes. Specifically:

  • the Government of Canada has determined that the Common Experience Payment (CEP) payments to former students will not be taxable income;
  • all provinces and territories agree that, when former students receive CEP payments under the settlement agreement, these payments will not affect the quantity, nature, or duration of any social benefits or social-assistance benefits they receive from any province or territory of Canada; and
  • all concerned federal departments and agencies also agree that the CEP payments will not affect the quantity, nature, or duration of any Government of Canada social benefits or social-assistance benefits payable to former students (these benefits include the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance, and the GST credit).
Receiving a payment

If you live in Canada, you have the option of receiving either a cheque by mail or payment by direct deposit.

Direct deposit is the fastest and most secure option, since we deposit the payment directly into your bank account. If you would like to take advantage of direct deposit, please provide your bank information in the appropriate area on the application form, or attach a cheque marked "VOID".

Note: Direct deposit is not available if you live outside Canada, or if the CEP payment is being issued to an estate or a personal representative of a former student. In these cases, we will issue a cheque and mail it to you.

Contact Information

Service Canada has established toll-free telephone numbers dedicated to the Common Experience Payment (CEP). Call-centre staff members have been trained to handle inquiries about the CEP process, applications, and payments.

The dedicated toll-free CEP contact numbers are:

  • 1-866-699-1742
  • TTY: 1-800-926-9105

The CEP telephone support staff responds to enquiries Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Newfoundland.

Information about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

Information about the settlement agreement is available through the toll-free Residential Schools Settlement Agreement Information Line at 1-866-879-4913, or by visiting the Indian Residential Schools Settlement - Official Court website.

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