APTN National News
The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday announced it would hear a case that could decide the fate of Indian residential school documents produced during compensation hearings.
At stake are thousands of documents produced during the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which was created by the Indian residential school settlement agreement, to set compensation amounts for claims filed by survivors.
The IAP Secretariat wanted to destroy the documents, but it ran into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was also created by the settlement agreement, which wanted to preserve them as part of the historical record.
The legal battle for the documents is now led by Ottawa and the Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which was created to hold all the archival documentation from the residential school area that was gathered during the TRC’s work.
In 2014, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled the documents should be destroyed after 15 years and that survivors would be given a chance to allow for the files’ preservation within that time frame.
The ruling was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Ottawa launched the appeal to the Supreme Court to determine whether the lower courts incorrectly concluded that the IAP records were not government records. Ottawa argues that those records are government files covered by the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act and the Library and Archives Canada Act.