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Multi-billion dollar Canadian settlement benefiting Residential Schools students

The Challenge

With enormous geographic, cultural and educational barriers, Hilsoft was faced with the most challenging notice circumstances for any case in North American history.

The Process

The initial two-phase plan created by Hilsoft involved a massive multi-media notification endeavor, along with carefully designed mailings and grass roots efforts to get notices into the hands of former students. The notices contained attention-getting and culturally-sensitive images, and voice talent that was translated and produced by Hilsoft into more than 20 aboriginal languages. 

Teaming up with the Assembly of First Nations and other Indian and Inuit organizations, the initial notice program involved travel and local outreach in reserves and communities in some of the most remote parts of Canada. A massive TV and radio campaign utilized almost every localized Canadian transmitter, including small aboriginal stations inside the Arctic Circle.

Notification

The two-phase plan included mailed and emailed settlement notices to known class members in English, French, and Inuktitut.  Publication notices and appeared nationally and locally in more than 35 mainstream print publications.  Notices were also placed in 40+ highly targeted Aboriginal publications.  The notices appeared in six different languages: English,French, Inuktitut, Innuinaqtun, Siglit and Oji-Cree.

Hilsoft implemented an extensive broadcast program including television and radio across mainstream and targeted Aboriginal networks in appropriate languages.  Over 860 television notices ran across mainstream English and French networks.  Over 1,150 television notices also appeared throughout Canada on Aboriginal television networks in nine different languages: English, French, Inuktitut, Dogrib, Cree, Innu, Inuvialuktun, Tutchone, and Tlingit.

Radio notice on Aboriginal radio networks and stations also played an important role.  With approximately 324 station transmitters reaching at

least 433 Aboriginal communities, and Radio Notices customized to the predominant language(s) used within each networks’ coverage area, Hilsoft was able to effectively communicate with potential Class members through vehicles where local and cultural news is regularly obtained. The Radio Notices were especially important in increasing reach among former students and family members who are illiterate and/or live in certain remote areas.

Hilsoft Notifications also designed and hosted the Court’s website in English, French and Inuktitut.

The Results

Since the notice of the initial settlement, Hilsoft has continued to partner with the Canadian government to provide subsequent waves of notice to the Residential Schools Class, notifying those affected of their rights to apply for payments and education credits.  Over the course of all phases, notices have appeared in hundreds of publications (both mainstream and aboriginal) and thousands of radio and television spots have run in English, French and various aboriginal languages.

Hilsoft Notifications is the court-appointed notice administrator for the Residential Schools litigation which is the largest, most complex and extraordinary class action in Canada's history. This multi-billion dollar settlement was designed to benefit 80,000 living former students and 300,000 or more family members of former students for claims of abuse against Canada’s “Residential Schools.”

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