News

AFN supports Legal Action Compelling Government of Canada to Meet Legal Commitments in Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

on December 21, 2012

December 19, 2012
 
(Ottawa, ON) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will appear before an Ontario Superior Court of Justice this week as intervenor in hearings requested by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) for the Government of Canada to provide materials related to the Indian Residential School era, and consistent with the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).

The following issues were identified by the TRC as the most relevant to all survivors:

  • Production of all relevant documents in the Government of Canada’s possession.
  • Production of documents in an organized manner from the federal government archives and the library of Canada.
  • Government of Canada is obligated to bear the cost of the provision of documents, including all copying, reproduction and compiling of documents, except where access is provided to originals.

“We fully support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their mandate to establish a National Research Centre aimed at preserving and protecting history, which includes obtaining documentation from the residential school era,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “The work of the TRC is an important part to the healing process for many survivors and their families, and AFN fully supports the disclosure of all documents as parties to the Settlement Agreement, and we urge the Government of Canada to live up to its legal obligations under the Agreement, cooperate in compiling and delivering all relevant documents in the true spirit of truth-telling and reconciliation.  This action is necessary and required to be consistent with the Statement of Apology.”

As stated in Schedule “N” of the IRSSA: “Canada and the churches will provide all relevant documents in their possession or control to and for the use of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, subject to the privacy interests of an individual as provided by applicable privacy legislation, and subject to and in compliance with applicable privacy and access to information legislation, and except for those documents for which solicitor-client privilege applies and is asserted”.

The Government of Canada has not provided certain documents that it obtained from the church entities in the course of the litigation on the basis of the implied undertaking rule; refused to compile “archived” documents in an organized fashion; failed to provide timely and unencumbered access to documents held by Library and Archives Canada; and failed to produce documents from any government department other than Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms

For more information please contact:  

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

rdbrinkhurstAFN supports Legal Action Compelling Government of Canada to Meet Legal Commitments in Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement