Kelly Busch Residential school students say theyve been hurt by law firm

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe single mother of two young children needed a job. A non-Aboriginal woman, she was educated at First Nations University of Canada. Her two young children are of Anishnabe heritage and she deeply cares about First Nation people. She saw the chance to work as a form filler as an opportunity to do a job she could be proud of.But after working for Honour Walk in Saskatoon for a while, she started to see things that disturbed her.“I was asked to leave the Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre in Oct. 2009 by a tall Native man who introduced himself as the head health support worker for Saskatoon. I was sitting with a prospective applicant inside the friendship centre,” she said.Busch said the man accused her of exploiting former students.Months later, she received a call from Peter McCallum, an Indian Residential Schools Coordinator with Health Canada’s Community Programs Division. He echoed the comments of the health support worker.That shook Busch up. But when she asked her supervisor, Doug Christmas, why these people were so angry with the company, he told her it was nothing to worry about.But she wondered. And she started watching closely, keeping copies of all her emails and trying to decide for herself if her dream job was really a nightmare.A woman who sincerely wanted to help, Busch was devastated by all this. She was worried that she was involved in something that was morally questionable, unethical and perhaps even illegal.Then she started hearing complaints from Honour Walk clients.“People I had never helped but who had my toll free number,” she said.The Honour Walk clients complained that their phone calls to their lawyer were never returned, that months, even years, had gone by and they’d never heard from their lawyer, that survivors had arrived at their IAP hearings and met their lawyer for the first time and the lawyer was not familiar with their case.She started talking to co-workers at Honour Walk and heard complaints that people were having claims dismissed or compensation amounts drastically reduced because the story they told the adjudicator did not match the version recorded by the form filler and that made it look like they were not telling the truth.Busch also had questions about her own relationship with Honour Walk. She was told she was not an employee, but a contractor. But she felt that she fit the description of an employee and should be eligible for the benefits and protections that employees receive from their employers.So she applied for a ruling from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in February of this year. Before that ruling arrived, in April, she decided she could no longer be associated with Honour Walk and quit.After she quit, she got the ruling from the CRA.“The CRA deemed me an employee on May 9,” she said.She said she quit because she was disturbed by the many complaints she heard.“I worked in Saskatoon, but I worked with people from all over the province and Alberta and one in the US. I moved my family to the Muscowequan reserve for six weeks last fall and worked in the surrounding area,” Busch said. “That’s when people started coming up to me saying they hadn’t heard from the lawyers in years. Due to meeting so many people, my toll free number was widely distributed. So people were calling me as well. Up to that point I had not heard a bad thing about Honour Walk or Blott other than what the Health Canada people had said.”Then, she re-read an email from Thom Denomme that was sent to her on July 12, 2010 addressed to managers at the various Honour Walk offices:From: [Thom Denomme]To: [Honour Walk managers]Subject: FW: Most Popular Aggravating FactorsDate: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 13:46:50 -0500Hi GuysStarting as soon as you can, these are the only aggravating factors Iwant marked. Let all your people knowHave a great day!Thom DenommeResidential School Healing SocietyFrom: [David Blott]To: [Thom Denomme]Subject: Most Popular Aggravating FactorsDate: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 21:01:56 -0600Here are the most popular:Particular vulnerabilityHumiliationDegredation (sic)Inability to ComplainFailure to Provide Care and SupportWhat that email meant to Busch was that the lawyer in charge of the only law firm that Honour Walk signed up clients for was telling the form fillers to tailor the forms in a certain way.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *