The provincial New Democrats announced Monday that if elected this May, they will extend to all Woodlands School survivors the opportunity to apply for redress within the first seven days of their term.
NDP leader Adrian Dix was joined by New Westminster MLA Dawn Black, Woodlands survivors, their families, friends and advocates on the grounds of the former school on Monday morning.
"If elected, an NDP government will lift the August 1, 1974 cut-off date that excludes hundreds of Woodlands survivors from being able to apply for damages," Dix said in a press release. "Ending this discriminatory action is going to be one of the first acts my cabinet will complete within its first seven days of office.
"Providing some of the most marginalized British Columbians a sense of closure and justice for the systemic abuse they suffered is a priority not just for me, but for the people of our province."
After the former students - those who were at Woodlands before and after 1974 - won the right to pursue a class action against the government for systemic abuse in 2005, the Liberal government pursued a different legal strategy. It resulted in survivors who were at Woodlands prior to August 1, 1974 becoming ineligible for compensation in 2008.
Other survivors of systemic abuse that took place in government institutions before August 1, 1974 have received compensation, such as former students of the Jericho School. Dix also pointed out that pre- and post-1974 Woodlands survivors could be compensated from the existing settlement funding envelope, because so many former students of Woodlands have passed away.