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January 28, 2022

This week’s update includes information about watching the public proceedings, information on Commissioned Reports, and a brief update on the consultation survey.

Public Proceedings

We have been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming public proceedings. Recently, we have heard some family members are urging for the proceedings to begin quickly so the Commission can publicly share what we have learned so far. At the same time, other Participants have been asking for more time to prepare for the proceedings. We continue to balance these views in our planning for 2022 while focusing on fulfilling our mandate in the public interest.

As shared in our last update, starting on February 22, and continuing throughout much of 2022, proceedings are expected to take place Monday through Thursday, starting at 9:30 am ADT. Most days are anticipated to end no later than 4:30 pm, although exceptions may be made. The schedule of Commission proceedings and activities can be found on our calendar and will be updated regularly. Please note that the first three weeks of proceedings will be modified to align with COVID-19 health protocols. With the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we anticipated this might be a scenario. We will work with those most directly affected to support them in watching the live-streamed proceedings if they wish. The Halifax Convention Centre will be set up with the required technology for the Commission to deliver the inquiry proceedings.

The public will be able to watch the proceedings on our website, listen to the audio via phone, or attend in person (once provincial COVID-19 protocols allow). The proceedings will commence at the Halifax Convention Centre, with a community viewing location in Truro, again dependent on COVID-19 protocols. You will be able to register to attend in person on our website or by phone—proof of vaccination will be required. We will send an update when registration is open and location details are confirmed. In addition to watching the proceedings live on our website, recordings will be available online so that people may watch the proceedings at a time that works for them.

Much of the detailed information we will be sharing during the coming months may be difficult to hear or read. Information will include timelines of events, accounts of the casualties, information about police response and witness reports. Knowing this, it is important for people to have the opportunity to engage with our work at their own pace. We encourage anyone interested in following our work to think about how to prepare to receive this information and to use the mental health and wellness tips and services listed on our website if you need them.

Restorative Principles

The Commission’s work continues to be guided by restorative principles to help minimize further harm. This does not mean the Commission is avoiding disagreement or difficult questions and answers. What it does mean is we are attentive in how we go about our work and to the experiences of those who have been most affected by the mass casualty. As an example, the Commission is currently working to ensure those named in a Foundational Document are made aware and can be prepared for its release during the proceedings. 

The Role of Participants

We have received questions about Participants’ role, specifically with regards to the Foundational Documents that will be shared publicly starting this February. The Commission’s Foundational Documents bring together a large volume of information about what happened on April 18 and 19, 2020, limiting the need for lengthy proceedings and reducing the amount of verbal testimony required to do our work. Through their legal counsel, Participants have been given access to the information and documents gathered during the Commission’s investigation through disclosure. They also received the Commission’s draft Phase 1 Foundational Documents. The Commission has held working counsel meetings since November 2021 where Participants, through their legal counsel, reviewed the content of the draft Foundational Documents and identified gaps or errors ensuring the contents are as accurate as possible before the documents are made public.

Participants are able to make submissions, including submissions for proposed areas of further investigation or suggested witnesses and questions for witnesses, however, ultimately, the Foundational Documents are the Commission’s documents and share the results of the Commission’s investigation. We are grateful to Participants for their important collaboration during the Commission’s process. We recently updated our Participants webpage to help explain the important role they play, as well as an addendum to reflect a funding update.

Commissioned Reports

Recently, the Commission has engaged independent researchers and report writers to prepare Commissioned Reports which will explore the issues in our mandate. Some of these reports will be technical in nature, providing factual information about matters such as the structure of policing in Nova Scotia. Others will be more analytical and research-based, gathering and analyzing public policy, academic research and lessons learned from previous mass casualties.

All Commissioned Reports will be shared with the public when they are discussed during the proceedings; a current list of the reports being drafted is available on our website.

Community Engagement

Engaging with the community is a crucial part of our work. In the coming weeks we will be asking the public to share their experiences and perspectives of the mass casualty. Thank you to everyone who responded to our consultation survey at the end of last year—our process will be informed by your responses.

We are continuing to meet with community groups in affected areas and other organizations in Nova Scotia impacted by the mass casualty, so they can learn more about the Commission’s work and we can hear what will be helpful for their networks throughout our proceedings. We would like to thank those who have met with us already and shared your insights. If your organization would like to learn more about the Commission and/or share your input, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you know others interested in receiving these updates, please point them to the sign-up link on our homepage or email us directly. We also encourage you to pass along how people can take part and prepare to share their experiences and perspectives. 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 constantly sharing updates about how to take part 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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