KPMG’s Investigation of Scouts Canada

by John McKiggan

Recently, we covered CBC’s 2012 report on Scouts Canada that took place following an episode of The Fifth Estate. The investigation on The Fifth Estate sought to find answers to allegations that Scouts Canada had not been entirely honest about reporting each instance of sexual abuse, assault or misconduct occurring within their ranks to the authorities, as they had previously maintained for decades.

As a result, Scouts Canada then pledged to hand over previously-confidential reporting dossiers to auditing firm KPMG, who then launched an independent investigation to determine if (and when) Scouts Canada failed to report instances of sexual abuse that they were made aware of.

What follows is a brief summary of the result of KPMG’s investigation, which can viewed in full here.

Summary of KPMG Report

The 55-page report outlines KPMG’s investigative timeline, and goes into detail regarding the decision to launch the investigation, how the 486 cases were obtained from Scouts Canada (whether they were part of the initial hand-over or acquired later), and the processes through which these cases were analyzed to determine the level of action taken by Scouts Canada to address allegations of sexual abuse and assault from 1947 to 2011.

In addition, the report also details the history of the policies enacted by Scouts Canada meant to address allegations of sexual abuse and assault, including an explanation of Scouts Canada’s Confidential List (CL) meant to disallow known perpetrators from becoming Volunteer Leaders, as well as how the state of the files affected their investigation. In tandem with the steps taken to conduct their analyses, KPMG illustrates noticeable trends in the actions (or inactions) taken by Scouts Canada over a 64-year period.

It was found that of the 486 cases reviewed, in 328 of them —the vast majority, in fact—the police or other authorities outside of Scouts Canada were aware of the sexual abuse and assault allegations before Scouts Canada so there was no opportunity for Scouts Canada to report the incidents. Of the remaining 158 cases however that came to Scouts Canada attention directly, in only 29 of those cases did KPMG find evidence that the incidents were reported to the police. In 65 cases KPMG found that Scouts Canda did not report the incident to the police. In the remaining 64 cases, KPMG was not able to determine whether Scoputs Caanda reported the incidents or not. is it clear that Scouts Canada reported the allegations to the police.

Alarmingly, in the 158 instances in which the authorities were not aware of of the sexual assault or abuse, there was only evidence that Scouts Canada reported the incidents to the authorities 18 per cent of the time. In 41% of those cases it was established that Scouts Canada did not report the incidents to the police. In the remaining 41% of those cases it was not determined whether Scouts Canada had reported the incidents or not.

Significance and Impact of the Investigation

For decades, Scouts Canada maintained that every instance of sexual abuse or assault that was brought forward to them was shared with the authorities, regardless of the severity of the act, and that each allegation was met with swift suspension and/or termination of the accused adult leader in question.

After KPMG’s analysis was made public, however, Scouts Canada issued a blanket apology to all former scouts who had experienced sexual abuse or assault, during which Scouts chief Commissioner Steve Kent stated that “Our sincere efforts to prevent such crimes have not always succeeded. We are sorry for that. We are saddened at any resulting harm.”

The results of the analysis show that in the context of this initial review, Scouts Canada did indeed fail some victims of sexual abuse and assault within its own ranks and appeared to, in some instances, be protecting its own. For some, such as victim Joey Day, who was sexually abused in the Scouts during the early 1970s, felt that the apology was “too little, too late,” while others such as London, Ont. Lawyer Robert Talach felt that the investigation was rushed, and would not be “worth its weight” unless an even more thorough investigation could be carried out to definitely state whether the Scouts Canada was complicit in allowing these heinous acts to occur or not.

Contact Us

Regardless of one’s feelings towards the result of the KPMG investigation, sexual abuse and assault are crimes that should be taken extremely seriously at all time, especially when allegations are first being made. At McKiggan Hebert Lawyers, our team of experienced and compassionate lawyers will work with you to seek justice against any abuser regardless of how long ago the instances of abuse occurred. If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in Scouts Canada, contact us to discuss your case and file a compensation claim today.

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