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June 25, 2021

We are making steady progress heading into the summer, applying the rigour and care needed to do our work responsibly and respectfully. Much of our current focus is on understanding what happened leading up to and during the April 2020 mass casualty in Nova Scotia, helping us prepare foundational documentation (explained below) that we will share this fall. You can see an overview of our work and what to expect on our website.

In May, we delivered our Participation Decision. At that time, we requested more information from some applicants. We have now made further decisions based on the provided information, which we have shared on our website as part of the Participation Decision Addendum. Thank you to everyone who was part of that process. As we have said before, there will be many ways to be involved in the Commission’s work in the coming months.

As part of the Commission’s investigation work, members of our team will be carrying out site visits in Portapique, Wentworth, Glenholme, Debert, Shubenacadie, Onslow, Enfield, and communities in the surrounding area in the coming weeks. This work will include both on-the-ground activities and possibly some use of an aerial drone, both during the day and at night, to obtain accurate and respectful footage of the communities for use during public proceedings. We will give advance notice to community members and, as always, do our best to carry out these site visits in ways that are respectful and minimize disruptions. This week, members of our investigations team visited Portapique to continue fact-finding work. Thank you to everyone in the community.

In addition to finding out what happened on April 18 and 19, 2020, we are also focused on digging deeper to understand the broader issues and contexts that may have contributed to the mass casualty, including firearms access, police and service-provider responses, emergency communications, and the role of gender-based and intimate partner violence.

We know that some people have asked questions about the relevance of gender-based violence in particular. Although gender and intimate partner violence may or may not have played a role leading up to or during the events of April 18 and 19, we will not know until we look into it. It is one of the many issues we are required to examine by the Orders in Council (described below).

As we have said from the outset, we are committed to working with independence, respect and transparency. This approach includes making sure we remain open to understanding all of the factors that may have contributed to the mass casualty, and that may help us understand indicators that could prevent violence and make our communities safer in future.

We are also currently consulting with Participants about the Commission’s Rules of Procedure and Practice. These rules will give further clarity about roles and what to expect for upcoming proceedings. We anticipate sharing the finalized rules in the coming weeks.

As you can see, the Commission’s work is well underway, and the pace of work will only accelerate as we move into more community outreach over the summer and toward the fall proceedings. We remain committed to helping you understand what to expect and will continue to share key terms and processes in our updates (please see below). 

Remember you can reach out to info@masscasualtycommission.ca or call 902-407-7532 or toll-free 1-833-635-2501. We will also continue to provide regular updates and share opportunities for community and public engagement on our website and social media channels. Please stay informed and help share information by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Respectfully,

The Mass Casualty Commission

Hon. J. Michael MacDonald, Chair

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

Dr. Kim Stanton

Key term

What this means

Foundational Documentation

The Commission is creating foundational documentation that will include key facts and events leading up to and during the April 2020 mass casualty in Nova Scotia. Foundational documentation summarizes large volumes of documents to allow facts to be placed in evidence without requiring each document to be presented orally by a witness during a public hearing. They are intended to promote efficiency in the inquiry process. We expect to share this foundational documentation this fall (2021). This record will form the basis for our work on understanding causes and contexts, and developing recommendations.

Related Issues

The Commission’s Orders in Council include direction to examine related issues including:

  • Access to firearms
  • Prior interactions and relationship of the perpetrator with the police and social services
  • Police actions
  • Communications with the public during and after the event
  • Communications between and within law enforcement agencies and other services
  • Police policies, procedures, and training
  • Role of gender-based and intimate partner violence

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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