Chief Adjudicator fights for claimant confidentiality

May 29, 2014

As you may have heard in recent news reports, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will hold a hearing in July to decide what will happen to thousands of documents from Independent Assessment Process (IAP) hearings.

The Court will decide whether documents will be destroyed or kept. The hearing will also address issues related to appropriate privacy controls for evidence, transcripts and decisions in the IAP.

The Independent Assessment Process has received applications from almost 38,000 students who suffered abuse at Indian Residential Schools. To date, we have held over 20,000 hearings.

At each hearing, our adjudicators have sought to assure claimants that their information will be kept confidential, and all IAP participants are required to sign confidentiality agreements. These assurances are based on confidentiality provisions in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement agreed to by all Parties to the Agreement. The information is protected by law and will be handled securely.

We have always understood the IAP to be a confidential, out-of-court process to deal with some of the most difficult and sensitive issues to ever face our justice system. Claimants have provided intimate details of the abuse they suffered, under the explicit promise of confidentiality. In many cases, claimants have never spoken about these events to anyone else.

As Chief Adjudicator, I will take every possible measure to uphold the guarantees of confidentiality made to claimants under the Settlement Agreement. I want to assure claimants and Canadians of our resolve to uphold the confidentiality promised by the Settlement Agreement. Our expectation is that the Court will give careful consideration to these issues.

As the hearing date draws nearer, you may hear more about this issue. I will keep you up-to-date on any further developments.

Dan Shapiro,
Chief Adjudicator
May 29 2014