Ontario Supreme Court Ruling Pleases AFN

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AFN Aboriginal News Splash
AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Atleo

OTTAWA – THUNDER BAY – Aboriginal News – “Today’s decision by the Ontario Superior Court underscores the importance of the truth-telling and truth-sharing mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), in assisting with the individual healing of former students, their families and our communities, and helps advance the steps required toward reconciliation for First Nations and all Canadians,” states AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, adding that “AFN continues advocacy efforts to ensure the key principles of healing and reconciliation are the cornerstones of implementation of the Indian Residential Settlement Agreement”.

National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo said today “This morning’s Ontario Superior Court decision requiring the federal government to disclose and provide all documents related to the Indian Residential Schools era to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission consistent with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement”.

As a central party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the Assembly of First Nations urges the Government of Canada to fulfil its obligation under the Settlement Agreement and expeditiously share documentation with the TRC in an organized manner,” said National Chief Atleo.

Earlier today Justice Stephen Goudge released the decision clarifying the Government of Canada’s basic obligation regarding document in its possession or control, specifically its requirement to provide all relevant documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including those located in Library and Archives of Canada.  The Court noted that this obligation is in unqualified language, unlimited by where the documents are located within the Government of Canada.

“This decision is a significant victory, and we will continue to stand in support of former students of the Indian Residential Schools and First Nations as the historical record of the Indian Residential School system will now be more complete and available to future generations,” said National Chief Atleo. “Reconciliation is about achieving real change that must come from increased and improved understanding of our shared history. These documents are essential to the truth-telling and truth-sharing work of the TRC, and all of us.”

Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the TRC was tasked with creating a complete historical record, as possible, of the residential schools system and legacy. The historical record is to be preserved and made accessible to the public for future study and use. The Government of Canada and the churches are to provide all relevant documents in their possession or control to and for the use of the TRC, subject to a few exceptions. During court proceedings, the Government of Canada argued its obligation was limited to providing the TRC with access to the federal archives and to search its files and deliver relevant active and semi-active documents to the TRC, where those files have not yet been archived at Library and Archives Canada.

 

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