November 30, 2012
The AFN has a unique role as a party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (“IRSSA”), as First Nations have tasked the AFN with protecting their interests in the IRSSA. From the AFN’s perspective, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) is an essential component to the IRSSA, to ensure that healing and reconciliation are at the forefront of the resolution of the claims of former residential school students.
Canada’s legal obligation under Schedule N of the IRSSA to “provide all relevant documents in their possession or control” is viewed by the AFN as fundamental to the TRC’s ability to fulfill its mandate. To this end, the AFN intends to take the position that Canada’ obligations under the IRSSA to compile and organize all relevant documents in their possession or control extends to archived documents held at Library and Archives Canada.
AFN intends to provide the court with its own views on the definition of “relevance”, which is one area under debate. In AFN’s view, the legacy mandate of the TRC is a fundamental component of its work.
AFN takes the position that the confidence of all First Nations in the IRSSA would be seriously undermined if the production of documents by Canada, and the work of the TRC, fails to include the key areas as described above.