Notices to Counsel
Handling of documents relating to St. Anne’s Indian Residential School
July 2, 2014
Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled on January 14, 2014 that certain documents related to St. Anne’s IRS in Fort Albany Ontario be released by Canada and by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) for use in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). The documents relate to OPP investigations and criminal trials conducted in the 1990s.
To satisfy the requirements of paragraph 6 of the court order, on June 30, 2014, Canada is providing the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat with a large volume of information (a minimum of 10,000 documents totaling over 40,000 pages, or 10-12GB of electronic data) relating to St. Anne’s IRS. In order to ensure that counsel are themselves able to make determinations regarding possible relevance, the Secretariat will be making the full suite of documents relating to St. Anne’s available to counsel. These materials will also be made available to adjudicators.
These documents are meant to accompany the School Narrative for St. Anne’s that is due to be revised by Canada by August 1, 2014, according to paragraph 7 of the Court Order. The Secretariat will in turn arrange to make the revised School Narrative accessible to parties by or shortly after August 1, 2014 in cases where an IAP claimant attended St. Anne’s IRS.
Canada is also required by the terms of the Court Order to amend its Persons of Interest (POIs) reports for St. Anne’s by August 1, 2014. Canada has indicated that documents for specific claimants or POIs will continue to be transmitted to the Secretariat for distribution via regular evidentiary packages.
Due to the sheer size and volume of the documents, the Secretariat is modifying the distribution methods for evidentiary packages solely for these documents.
How St. Anne’s documents will be distributed
The Secretariat will make all documents produced as a result of the Court Order, as well as the revised School Narrative for St. Anne’s IRS (once received), available via a specialized module of the IAP Decisions Database. It is anticipated that this will be accessible as of July 7, 2014.
Counsel who at any time represented claimants who attended St. Anne’s IRS will be granted access to this module of the IAP Decisions Database as soon as it is available in order to access the documents.
If you have any questions about, or would like to request access to the IAP Decisions Database, please email IAPS_Chiefadjudicatorsoffice@irsad-sapi.gc.ca
Use of St. Anne’s documents at hearing
Once all documents (including any additional OPP documents, the revised narrative and alleged perpetrator reports) are provided, counsel will be asked to advise the adjudicator and other parties in advance of the hearing as to which specific documents, including document and page numbers, they intend to rely on, and the purpose for which they intend to rely on such documents.
Justice Perell made it clear in his decision that the Court will not give direction to the adjudicators regarding admissibility or relevance of any of the materials. The formal Court order arising from Justice Perell’s Directions states:
9. THIS COURT ORDERS THAT the adjudicators of the IAP have the exclusive jurisdiction with respect to the admission of and use to be made of evidence for the IAP
It is important to remember that the IAP does not require corroboration of claimants’ testimony, and that the vast majority of cases are decided without resorting to similar fact evidence or corroborating testimony.
Canada’s representatives and claimant’s counsel are asked to play a proactive role in putting forward particular documents that may have relevance to a claim.
In order to prevent or minimize delays of hearings, pre-hearing teleconferences will be convened for all pending St. Anne’s hearings, until further notice.
A separate notice has been prepared for self-represented claimants.