Notices to Counsel

Indian residential school yearbooks

May 25, 2015

When a claim is made in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), Canada conducts research to ascertain the residence and attendance of the claimant at the Indian Residential School (IRS). Canada also conducts research on any alleged perpetrators named in the IAP application as having abused the claimant.

In conducting this research, Canada relies on primary documents such as Quarterly Returns or documents identifying staff members at the school. If primary documents are not available, Canada will consult any secondary sources that it may have in its possession, such as Indian Residential School yearbooks.

Canada currently has in its possession a limited number of yearbooks from a limited number of Indian Residential Schools. These yearbooks may contain names and photographs of students, names and photographs of staff members, names of clubs and organizations within the school, names of sports teams at the school, etc. Since the beginning of the IAP, Canada has used the IRS yearbooks as an aid to identifying claimants and alleged perpetrators. As well, IRS yearbooks have also been used to identify staff members (not named as alleged perpetrators) that were present at the school. When information from an IRS yearbook is disclosed, personal information is redacted pursuant to Appendix VIII of the IAP model. For example, Canada redacts all student names and photographs, except the name and photograph of the claimant (or alleged perpetrator). Canada does not redact the names or photographs of staff members at the school.

Canada recently provided a list of IRS yearbooks in its possession to the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat which has been posted on the IAP Decision Database. As well, Canada has undertaken to determine which of the IRS yearbooks in its possession are publicly available (i.e. whether an IRS yearbook may be obtained from its source by a member of the public). Going forward, Canada will provide yearbook information fully unredacted if the IRS yearbook is a publicly available document. If the IRS yearbook is not a publicly available document, Canada will continue to follow its current protocol of providing yearbook information redacted of personal information.