Statement by Chief Adjudicator Dan Shapiro, on the decision by Supreme Court of Canada on the disposition of IAP Records
October 6, 2017
We are very satisfied with the result of today’s decision. We have argued all along that IAP records are sensitive, confidential, and must be protected. Survivors were promised that the details of their most intimate and painful memories would not be shared outside the IAP hearing room without their consent.
Many claimants told me they would not have participated in the IAP unless they knew that what they said would be kept confidential, even from their families, and even after their death.
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the promises of confidentiality that were made to claimants in the Independent Assessment Process, and has determined that survivors control their own records. This decision will allow claimants who do not want to disclose the intimate details of the abuse they suffered at Indian Residential School to keep them confidential.
I also want to reassure claimants that their records will continue to be kept safe and secure.
Today’s decision takes a huge burden off the shoulders of tens of thousands of claimants who came before us in hearing rooms across the country, often talking about their experience at residential school for the first time, believing that what they told adjudicators would be kept confidential, forever.
I am happy that the Supreme Court has decided that claimants, and no one else, control their records from the IAPs, and that claimants will be able decide if they can be archived at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).
At the same time, today’s Supreme Court decision also allows claimants who want to deposit their records with the NCTR archive, or any other archive, can do so. We have always supported the rights of claimants to share an account of the experiences with others, provided they give their consent to place them in an archive for that purpose.
By protecting the privacy of claimants who do not want their records to be archived, and by allowing claimants who want to share their records in an archive to do so, the Supreme Court has delivered a win-win decision today.