Notices to Counsel

Accessing Public School records in Canada

October 27, 2015

Each claimant must prove, on a balance of probabilities, that he or she meets the qualifying criteria to be considered for compensation. Proof of attendance / residence is a fundamental evidentiary issue. We are seeing more cases with no record of the claimant living at or attending a named Indian Residential School when Canada has a full set of Quarterly Returns for that facility for the relevant time. Some counsel suggest it is just a record-keeping error on Canada’s part. While this may have some resonance in older claims or where there are gaps in the records provided by Canada, it may become less compelling in IAP claims that are for more recent years, for which the records are generally more complete.

Counsel may only have sought secondary records from provincial education authorities, as these are mandatory documents in claims for OL3 and higher. However, where attendance is an issue, all school records should be considered.

A reminder that Counsel have various options to address the fact that a claimant does not appear in records, including calling a witness, seeking and providing records from the local schools attended by these claimants or by seeking records such as the Permanent Records from the provincial /territorial Ministries of Education that could establish the claimant’s presence or absence at other educational institutions.

The Adjudication Secretariat has prepared an information sheet to provide guidance on where and how these records can be obtained.