**** Justice Media Release
Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia Announce Joint Review of Nova Scotia Tragedy
The tragedy that occurred on April 18 and 19 in Nova Scotia left families and communities across the province suffering unimaginable trauma, pain and loss.
Today, July 23, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced a joint independent review into the tragedy.
“I know the victims’ families and survivors continue to experience a level of trauma and grief that most of us cannot imagine,” said Mr. Furey. “The Government of Nova Scotia is committed to ensuring that they, and all Nova Scotians, get the answers they deserve. We have heard the calls for an independent and impartial review into why and how this happened, and for timely recommendations that will make our communities safer. This joint review will achieve these outcomes.”
This review – to be conducted by a panel that will operate independently from government – will involve a broad investigative analysis of the April 18-19 events.
Three members have been jointly appointed to the panel to conduct the review and report back on its findings and recommendations. The panel members are the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald (chair), the Honourable A. Anne McLellan and Ms. Leanne J. Fitch. They will consider the causes, context and circumstances that led to the shootings, the response of police and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.
The review will address a variety of issues relating to the perpetrator, police and other law enforcement agencies, as well as victims and families. Topics to be reviewed include:
— contributing and contextual factors including the involvement of gender-based and intimate-partner violence
— the perpetrator’s access to firearms
— police response
— police communications with the public, victims, their families, the Alert Ready Program and other law enforcement agencies
Ministers Furey and Blair have committed that all agencies and organizations under their respective jurisdiction and authority will participate fully in this review, ensuring the panel has what it needs to fulfill its mandate. These include, but are not limited to, the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office, all municipal police forces in Nova Scotia, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Firearms Program, the Criminal Intelligence Service and the national Alert Ready Program.
“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 review panel will carry out its work and processes guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm, be trauma informed and be attentive to the needs and impacts upon those most directly affected and harmed
— both the interim and final report outlining findings and recommendations will be made public
Joint federal-provincial news release:
Backgrounder: Independent Review Panel for April Tragedy: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2020/07/independent-review-panel-for-april-tragedy.html
Independent Review Terms of Reference:
**** Minister of Public Safety and
Presentation material related to technical briefing in mass shooting in April
The mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020 took the lives of 22 innocent victims and forever changed countless others. The incident devastated entire communities and saddened all Nova Scotians.
As the largest modern day mass shooting in Canadian history, its immense impact must be reviewed with compassion, understanding and an unwavering commitment to determine what happened and make necessary recommendations to avoid such tragic events in the future.
This independent review conducted on behalf of the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia will be a broad review of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18-19, 2020 (the event), including the causes, context and circumstances giving rise to them, the responses of police (including the RCMP and municipal police forces), and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.
The Review Panel will document its findings and lessons learned and make recommendations on preventing and managing such events wherever they may occur. A final report of the review process and findings will be made to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for Canada and to the Minister of Justice for Nova Scotia and subsequently released to the public.
The review will include the following issues:
Contributing and contextual factors including the involvement of gender-based and intimate partner violence;
Access to firearms;
Interactions with police, including any specific relationship between the perpetrator and the RCMP, and/or social services, including mental health services, prior to the event and the outcomes of those interactions;
Police actions including operational tactics, response, decision-making and supervision;
Communications with the public during and after the event, including appropriate use of the public alerting system established under the Alert Ready Program;
Communications between and among the RCMP, municipal police forces, the Canadian Border Services Agency, the Criminal Intelligence Service Nova Scotia, the Canadian Firearms Program and the Alert Ready Program;
Police policies, procedures and training for gender-based and intimate partner violence;
Police policies, procedures and training for active shooter incidents;
Policies with respect to the disposal of police vehicles and associated equipment, kit and clothing;
Policies with respect to police response to reports of the possession of prohibited firearms, including communications between law enforcement agencies;
Information and support provided to the families of victims, affected citizens, police personnel and the community;
• The status of implementation of relevant recommendations from prior reviews and the process for tracking and implementation of such recommendations.
An independent Review Panel chaired by the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald together with the Honourable A. Anne McLellan and Leanne J. Fitch, has been jointly appointed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for Canada and the Minister of Justice for Nova Scotia to conduct the review.
The Ministers, on behalf of their governments, will ensure, within the scope of their respective authorities, that all institutions falling under the authority of their respective jurisdictions participate fully in the review, including using their authority to the fullest extent.
The Ministers will also require that the Review Panel be provided, subject to applicable legislation and law, with all documents, interviews and inputs as may be required to carry out its mandate.
Where a lack of cooperation of an institution or an individual involved in the review is impacting the Review Panel’s ability to perform the review, the Ministers may be notified in writing, and where the institution or individual fails to cooperate within a reasonable time, the Review Panel may notify the public about the lack of cooperation.
Activities undertaken during the review must not compromise any police investigation being conducted in relation to the events of April 18-19, 2020.
All documents and information collected, received and/or considered by the Review Panel during its work or in the preparation by the Review Panel of any interim or final report shall be kept confidential by the Review Panel.
Process and Ex enses
The Review Panel will carry out its work and process guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm, be trauma informed and be attentive to the needs and impacts upon those most directly affected and harmed.
The Review Panel will report to the Ministers on their findings and recommendations.
Costs of the review will be divided equally between the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia.
Such professional, advisory and specialized services as determined to be required by the Review Panel shall be engaged to support the Review Panel.
Travel to impacted areas may be arranged should that be of benefit to the review.
Subject to approve
d guidelines established by the Ministers, the Review Panel may, where, in the Review Panel’s view, a victim or affected family member would not otherwise be able to participate in the review, recommend the reimbursement of reasonable costs.
COVID-19 restrictions must be taken into account when:
• travel is being considered;
• in-person meetings are being organized; and assessing the implications of the use of IT and videoconferencing on the security, confidentiality, and sensitivity of the review,
The Review Panel will provide to the Ministers by February 28, 2021 an interim report, to be made public, setting out the status of its review together with any findings the Review Panel has made to that date.
A final report, in both official languages, setting out the findings and recommendations will be delivered to the Ministers by August 31, 2021 and will be made public.
The Review Panel may, in their discretion, provide other public communications on their progress during the course of the review.
Both Ministers commit to fully consider the Review Panel’s recommendations and commit to implementation, where reasonable, within a reasonable time.
**** RCMP Media Release
Statement from Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer regarding announcement of joint review
The RCMP welcomes today’s announcement of a joint review into the devastating incidents of April 18 and 19, 2020. We support the independent review and will cooperate fully.
What took place in Northeast Nova Scotia was unprecedented and has forever affected victims’ families foremost, but also RCMP employees across Nova Scotia, particularly those who were involved in the incident, community members and Nova Scotians from one end of our province to the other. We owe it to the memory of those we lost to learn as much as we can from this terrible tragedy.
The confirmation of a joint review does not shift our focus in relation to the ongoing H-Strong investigation. Our priorities will continue to be the victims’ families and learning more about why the gunman did what he did and what help the gunman received leading up to the incidents.
The Nova Scotia RCMP will work closely with Public Safety and the Department of Justice to ensure that the review has all available information required.
**** INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL Release
Statement from the Independent Review Panel
NOTE: The following is a statement from the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald, the Honourable A. Anne McLellan, and former police chief Leanne J. Fitch, the members of the Independent Review Panel into the tragedy of April 2020
The tragedy of April 18-19, 2020 was a devastating act of violence. Grieving families and communities understandably have many questions. We accept the responsibility entrusted to us with a solemn commitment and determination to conduct a thorough and independent review into these tragic events and into the broader context and circumstances leading to, surrounding, and following them.
In the coming weeks and months, we will meet with families, survivors, first responders, law enforcement officials and others as we examine what happened, how it happened, and what lessons and actions can improve community safety and help prevent such tragedies in the future.
We believe the scope and mandate of the review announced today, July 23, will provide us what we need to do this work effectively and comprehensively. Our approach will be trauma-informed as we undertake this work with care and compassion for those who have been most deeply affected. We are committed to examining the contexts that played a role in these acts of violence, including gender-based and intimate partner violence.
We take on this mandate with a commitment to the accountability of public institutions.
We will deliver an interim report to the federal and provincial ministers, and to the public, by the end of February 2021, with a final report by the end of August 2021.