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St. Anne survivors seeking further court direction on government documents

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler was in court June 9 in support of survivors in an ongoing legal battle with the federal government over documents relating to a 1990’s criminal investigation into widespread child abuse at St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation.

In January 2014, Mr. Justice Perell of the Superior Court of Justice ordered Canada to produce these documents to claimants/survivors and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The documents, which are extensive police files relating to sexual and physical abuse by former school employees, should have been provided to the Independent Assessment Process in 2007.

The federal government has since provided over 12,000 documents representing some 40,000 pages of documents, but has not organized and summarized these documents and has improperly redacted significant information in many documents.

Counsel for the survivors are asking the Court
to confirm that federal officials are required to provide summary reports
discussing the allegations of abuse at the school and against particular people
who are claimed to have abused the claimants.

Counsel will also challenge how federal government redacted names in the documents it gives to adjudicators, as well as the claimants. This means no one in these IAP hearings has access to a document without most names blacked out, which is not permitted under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.