Category: Residential School Claims

Historical Trauma Increases Risk of Disease

by John McKiggan

A recent research project conducted by The Cedar Project in British Columbia has found that aboriginal youth who have relatives who attended an Indian Residential School have higher rates of Hepatitis C infection.

A similar study had already found that children whose parents attended a Residential School were more likely to have suffered sexual abuse as children.

The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates the incidents of Hepatitis C in the general Canadian population to be 0.8% but the latest study found that the disease is 7 times more prevalent among aboriginal people than non-aboriginals.

Justice Frank Iacobucci on Indian Residential School Settlement

by John McKiggan


One of the greatest honors I have ever had was representing Nora Bernard, and the survivors of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, in the negotiations that lead to the creation of the Indian Residential School National Class Action Settlement.

Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci was the lead negotiator for Canada.

Pope Apologizes (Sort of) for Abuse at Indian Residential Schools

by John McKiggan

Residential School Survivors Meet Pope

A group of Survivors from Canada’s Indian Residential Schools had a private audience with Pope Benedict. The delegation was led by assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine. The group also includes one of the survivors of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, Membertou Chief Terry Paul.

Pope Apologizes to Abuse Survivors

Nora Bernard Honoured for Work on Behalf of Residential School Abuse Survivors: C.T.V. Documentary

by John McKiggan

C.T.V.’s Native Affairs program First Story has aired a documentary on the life of Nora Bernard.

I was pleased to have participated in the documentary honouring my friend and client, Nora Bernard.

First Story takes a retrospective look at Nora’s fight for compensation for survivors against the Government of Canada and the Catholic Church on behalf of former residential school students across Canada and the legacy she left for Residential School Survivors across Canada.

Supreme Court of Canada Clarifies Burden of Proof for Sexual Abuse Victims

by John McKiggan

Yesterday the Supreme Court of Canada restored a finding of civil liability for sexual assaults committed by an Oblate Brother against a former Indian Residential School Student decades ago and confirmed the burden of proof that victims of historical sexual assaults must meet if they pursue civil claim for compensation.

In F.H. v. McDougall the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a finding of civil liability against Ian Hugh McDougall, a former teacher at the Meares Island Indian Residential school. McDougall was originally found liable in B.C. Supreme Court, but the judgment was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the testimony of adult victims about sexual assaults that happened during childhood require independent corroboration.

Remembering Nora Bernard

by John McKiggan

Today survivors of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School gathered to hear an historic apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They also gathered to pay tribute to Nora Bernard, whose tireless efforts played a key part in the multi-billion dollar Residential Schools class action settlement.

I was honoured to be invited by Nora’s family to join the gathering.


Prime Minister to Apologize (finally) for Indian Residential School Abuse

by John McKiggan

In a long over due gesture Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced today that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will officially apologize on June 11 on behalf of the government for abuses suffered by former residents of native residential schools.

Although she did not live to see it, I think my friend Nora Bernard would be pleased.

A Tribute to Nora Bernard

Indian Residential School’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Prepares for Hearings

by John McKiggan

The Canadian government has appointed Justice Harry LaForme, a senior Ontario judge and a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation in southern Ontario to head up a federal truth and reconciliation commission that looks into the abuse that occurred at Indian Residential Schools.

The commission is designed to provide those affected by the legacy of Indian Residential Schools with an opportunity to share their individual experiences in a safe and culturally appropriate forum.


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