Abuse stories to be shredded

The Canadian Press

TORONTO—Survivors of Canada’s notorious residential school system have the right to see their stories archived if they wish, but their accounts otherwise must be destroyed in 15 years, Ontario’s top court ruled in a split decision yesterday.
At issue are documents related to compensation claims made by as many as 30,000 survivors of Indian residential schools—many heart-rending accounts of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse.
Compensation claimants never surrendered control of their stories, the Appeal Court said.
“Residential school survivors are free to disclose their own experiences, despite any claims that others may make with respect to confidentiality and privacy,” the court noted.
The decision came in response to various appeals and cross-appeals of a ruling by Superior Court Justice Paul Perell in 2014 related to claims made under the confidential independent assessment process—or IAP—set up as part of an agreement that settled a class action against the government.
The federal government and Truth and Reconciliation Commission fought destruction of the documents, saying they should be kept “with appropriate safeguards” to preserve the historical record of residential schools.
Catholic parties argued for their destruction.
“This is a once-and-for-all determination of the rights of all parties relating to these issues,” the court said.
“There will be no future cases like this one.”