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February 11, 2022

This week’s update includes further information about what to expect during the first and second week of the Commission’s 2022 public proceedings.

Public Proceedings

The Commission’s public proceedings will begin February 22, 2022 at the Halifax Convention Centre. We are currently working with our partners and Public Health to understand how the recently announced changes to provincial gathering limits, which take effect on February 14, will affect attendance from the public at proceedings. We will share more details as soon as possible.

We know that many people across Canada and beyond are planning to follow the proceedings. We want to assure you that regardless of public health restrictions or where you are located, you will be able to watch the proceedings on our website or listen through an audio phone line. Details, including the phone line, will be shared on our website soon. Recordings of the proceedings will also be available on our website so that you may watch the proceedings at a time that works best for you.

For the most part, Commission proceedings will take place Monday to Thursday between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm ADT, with a 60-minute break for lunch and a brief break in the afternoon. The proceedings schedule is available on our website and will be updated regularly. The schedule will continue to develop on an ongoing basis.

First Week of Proceedings

During the first week, there will be two days of proceedings (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Tuesday, February 22, 2022 (beginning at 9:30 am)

  • Commissioners’ opening remarks
  • Panel on mental health and wellness
    • o The purpose of this panel is to acknowledge the ripple effect that occurred because of the events of April 2020—a ripple that was felt not only by Nova Scotians, but also by people across the country and beyond. Human lives were impacted, and more human lives will be impacted in the future by what we learn and the recommendations we make to help keep communities safer. Since April 2020, some people have been thinking about these events every day, while others may not have thought about these events since they happened, either intentionally or unintentionally. People are at different places along this continuum. With this panel, we hope to help convey the breadth of people and groups affected by the mass casualty, to help normalize and validate emotions people have felt or are feeling, and to help people prepare for the information to come from the Commission’s work.
  • Orientation to Commission Resources
    • o How to find and access Commission information throughout the proceedings, including schedules, documents and resources.
  • Closing remarks from Commissioners

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 (beginning at 9:30 am)

  • Opening remarks from Commissioners
  • Panel about life in rural Nova Scotia, including the affected communities
    • o The purpose of this panel is to establish important context at the start of proceedings about the rural communities in which the mass casualty took place—what the people and places are like, what makes them special and how they may have things in common with other Canadian communities. While the panel will have this focus and key questions will be developed collaboratively, the panel will not be scripted. Instead, our goal is to invite a cross-section of community representatives to share their voices and perspectives, while the facilitator will simply be guiding the conversation.
  • Presentation on the structure of policing in Nova Scotia
  • Closing remarks from Commissioners

Second Week of Proceedings

During the second week of proceedings, the Commission will begin to share the facts of what happened on April 18 and 19, 2020.

Monday, February 28, 2022 – Thursday, March 3, 2022

Commission counsel will walk through Foundational Documents that detail key facts from the Commission’s independent investigation into the mass casualty. These presentations will share with the public the evidence gathered by the Commission through numerous subpoenas, witness interviews and site visits. The Foundational Documents to be shared during this week include:

  • Portapique: April 18-19, 2020
  • First Responders Actions in Portapique
  • Containment Points in and Around Portapique

All Commission exhibits, including the Foundational Documents and their source materials, will be available on the website once they are presented during the proceedings.

In a small number of instances, the Commission will provide summaries of the evidence rather than posting the evidence itself if necessary, to protect the privacy and dignity of witnesses and others most affected by the mass casualty.

In addition to the extensive consultation with Participants over the last few months to have their input on further routes of investigation and to ensure the accuracy of the draft Foundational Documents, the Commission will also set aside time in this week to hear from Participants regarding any remaining gaps in the factual record related to the events at Portapique (including witnesses they suggest should be heard by the Commission). Participants with relevant contributions will be invited to provide their input in writing and in oral submissions. Similar opportunities for Participant input will be expected throughout the public proceedings. Further details on this process will be shared next week.

Leading up to the Proceedings

As we prepare for the proceedings, we want to provide you with a list of what we are planning over the coming weeks.

  • Outreach to those named in the Foundational Documents. The Commission will begin outreach to those who are not represented by counsel and who have been named as witnesses in a Phase 1 Foundational Document. Foundational Documents will be made public and include information from April 18 and 19, 2020 gathered throughout the Commission’s investigation. These documents include information disclosed by various institutions and organizations. For example, information disclosed by various institutions and organizations like transcripts of 911 call information. In cases like these we may not have an individual’s contact information.
  • If you or someone you know was a witness to the mass casualty and has not heard from the Commission but would like to share information, or to confirm if they are or are not included in a Phase 1 Foundational Document, please contact us through the general information line at: Email: | Phone: 902-407-7532 (local) or 1 833-635-2501.
  • Share Your Experience survey. The Commission is inviting Nova Scotians, Canadians, and anyone impacted to share their experience about how they have been affected by the April 2020 mass casualty. This is a crucial part in helping us understand the far-reaching and ongoing effects of the mass casualty and will help to inform the Commission’s recommendations to help keep communities safe in the future. The survey is on our website and closes at the end of March.
  • Proceedings information in print, mail, radio and digital. In Nova Scotia, you can expect to see and hear information on social media, print, in the mail and radio about what to expect during proceedings, including how to watch the webcast and information about mental health and wellness supports. This information will also be shared on the Commission website on our proceedings page, calendar and in a proceedings information package that will be made available soon.
  • Meetings with community groups. We are continuing to meet with community groups in affected areas, and other organizations in Nova Scotia and nationally, to share information about the Commission’s work and to hear what would be helpful for their networks throughout our proceedings. If there is a group with which you would like us to meet, please let us know.

Contact Information

We are grateful to the many people who are taking part in our work. We welcome hearing from you anytime via email to or by calling either 902-407-7532 (local) or 1-833-635-2501 (toll-free). We are also sharing updates via our website, Facebook and Twitter.


The Mass Casualty Commission

Hon. J. Michael MacDonald, Chair

Leanne J. Fitch (Ret. Police Chief, M.O.M.)

Dr. Kim Stanton

Content Warning: The following video contains scenes including the discharging of firearms causing death. There is a “quick exit” button at the top of the website if you need it, and Wellness Supports are also listed.

Some of the information within this website may be disturbing or upsetting for some visitors. This website deals with information about events that include gun and other violence, including gender-based violence and intimate partner violence. If you need to leave at any point, there is a “quick exit” button at the top of the website. This website also includes some suggested resources, should you be in need of support.

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