By Kathleen Martens
WINNIPEG – Confidentiality trumps history, says the chief adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP).
Dan Shapiro says residential school survivors testified in confidence during their IAP hearings and their information should be destroyed once the process comes to an end.
“…promises of confidentiality were properly made to claimants,” Shapiro said in a speech in Edmonton on June 19, a copy of which was obtained by APTN Investigates.
“These records, including medical, education and financial records of survivors, should not be given a longer life and broader exposure simply because they relate to someone who was abused at a residential school,” Shapiro added.
But the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) wants all of the material. Without it, it argues, there won’t be a complete story of the impact and generational legacy of the notorious schools.
A judge in Ontario Superior Court will hear the arguments in July and then rule on what to do with the emotional records of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
The IAP says it has amassed about 800,000 pieces of information from nearly 38,000 applications. These include IAP forms, transcript and audio recordings of hearings, decisions, and tens of thousands of medical, education, employment, corrections and other personal records submitted by claimants.
“…After careful analysis and reflection, I have come to the realization that the only way that the confidentiality of participants can be respected and their dignity preserved is through the destruction of all IAP records after the conclusion of the compensation process,” Shapiro said in a release.
The judge will have to decide what’s best in light of the IAP and TRC’s conflicting mandates: while the IAP needed the testimonies to compensate former students, the TRC needs to report on everything that happened at residential schools. The TRC would store the records at the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.
The judge will also hear from the federal government, which wants to keep the information in the national Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.