Independent Panel established for Nova Scotia Massacre
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Independent Panel established for Nova Scotia Massacre

The Nova Scotia Massacre was the worst In Canadian History

The horrific events that unfolded in Nova Scotia in April 2020 have shaken all Canadians, and the country is united in wanting answers to how and why this tragedy occurred.

Today, the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia announced the establishment of a three-member independent Review Panel to conduct a joint review into the April tragedy in Nova Scotia. The Review Panel has a broad mandate to investigate what happened on April 18 and 19, and make recommendations on preventing and managing such events.

Independent Panel established for Nova Scotia Massacre

This Review will be conducted by an independent and impartial Panel at the request of the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia. The Panel will undertake a broad review of the events, including the causes, context and circumstances giving rise to them, the response of police and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.

The Panel is tasked with finding answers to the most central questions related to the actions of the perpetrator, the police and other law enforcement agencies, and the experiences and impacts on victims and families. The Panel has a mandate to investigate, identify lessons learned and make recommendations on actions that should be taken at both the provincial and federal levels to address what happened and improve public safety in the future.

The Panel’s independence is supported by the submission of both an interim and final report to the Ministers, which will be made public. The cost of the review will be shared equally between the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Independent Panel established for Nova Scotia Massacre

The independent Review Panel, Chair and Members

The three members jointly appointed to conduct the review were selected because of their experience in fact finding and independence, in-depth knowledge of public safety and policing, gender-based and intimate-partner violence, and understanding of shared federal-provincial relations and responsibilities.

Chair – The Honourable J. Michael MacDonald served as Chief Justice of Nova Scotia until his retirement in 2019. As Chief Justice, he led, or promoted, several judicial outreach initiatives with Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaw and Black communities.

The Honourable A. Anne McLellan  Anne McLellan has a Master of Law degree from King’s College, University of London and has also taught law at the University of New Brunswick and the University of Alberta. She served four terms as a Member of Parliament. During that time she served as Deputy Prime Minister and held several federal ministerial portfolios including Public Safety, Justice and Attorney General.

Ms. Leanne J. Fitch retired from 34 years in municipal policing in 2019. She served seven years as Chief of Police for the Fredericton Police Force, seven years as Deputy Chief and 20 years in a range of front-line operational policing roles.

“The devastating loss of life in Nova Scotia will not soon be forgotten, and all Canadians stand with Nova Scotians as they mourn and search for answers. This review by the three-member independent Review Panel will provide a better understanding of what happened and provide recommendations to help prevent such tragedies in the future.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Independent Review Panel and Restorative Principles

The Review Panel is mandated to investigate and to report its findings and recommendations. The use of restorative principles will assist the panel in ensuring their work takes a human-centred and trauma-informed approach to those individuals most affected and impacted by the tragic events of April 18and 19, 2020.

In this case, the restorative principles do not refer to any particular practice or process and do not entail a particular outcome (i.e. they are not aimed at healing relationships between or among the parties). The principles will help guide the panel members to carry out their work in a manner sensitive to the needs of those most impacted (i.e. the perpetrator’s surviving victims and families of deceased victims).

More information on the joint review and the Independent Review Panel is available.

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