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September 16, 2021

This week’s update includes the recent Progress Update, the Commission’s Research Advisory Board, and what to expect at the upcoming Open Houses.

Thank you to everyone who watched our Progress Update webcast last week. During the update, we shared an overview of our progress to date, including how the Commission is approaching our work in three phases: finding out what happened during the April 2020 mass casualty, understanding the context and issues, and making recommendations to keep Canadian communities safer in the future. The update also included information about our independent investigation, which includes conducting site visits, gathering, and examining thousands of pieces of evidence, and speaking with many witnesses. This work will provide the information we need to build Foundational Documents, summarizing facts, events and timelines. As we explained in the Progress Update, Foundational Documents will form an important part of our public proceedings. Our team is compiling “what we know” and outstanding questions. We will be sharing with the Participants what we are learning and asking them if they have further questions or if there are areas they feel need further investigation. Following this consultation process, the Foundational Documents will be shared with the public through hearings and other mechanisms. This may prompt further questions and bring forward additional evidence. Foundational Documents will be available on our website and we will continue to add to them as needed. If you would like to watch the Progress Update or read the transcript please visit our website.

In addition to investigating what happened during the mass casualty, we are also working to understand why the events unfolded as they did, and what policies, initiatives, and changes could make Nova Scotians and Canadians safer in the future. To assist with this work, we have engaged a Research Advisory Board to provide expert input into our research and policy process. The members of the Research Advisory Board are distinguished academics and experts in community engagement and policy processes. Their collective research spans areas that will be important to our work, including criminology, law, and psychology. Learn more about the Research Advisory Board members on our website.

We received two requests from Participants to contribute to the Commission independently instead of as part of coalitions. Participants were placed in coalitions in the original Participation Decision dated May 13, 2021 and the Participation Decision Addendum dated June 25, 2021. The requests were from the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC), and the Canadian National Firearms Association (CNFA). This week, we directed that the OFOVC be granted independent Participation and that the CNFA continue their Participation in coalition with the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR.) The details of the decisions can be read in an addendum to the Participation Decision on our website.

The Commission team is looking forward to meeting with community members at Open Houses this month. These meetings will be an opportunity for you to learn more about our work, ask questions, have conversations with Commission team members and share input and feedback about the inquiry process. Please know we are still in our investigative phase, which means findings and recommendations will not be shared during the Open Houses. There will be mental health resources on site at each location and members of the Mental Health Team will be available to provide support and information during each Open House. Open House details are included below and on our website as well as some more information on what to expect. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the Open Houses. We are also planning future community events and welcome outreach from anyone interested in learning more about the Commission.

As we shared in the Progress Update, the Commission team has made steady progress in the last 11 months—and we recognize that we are not doing this work alone. We are grateful to all those who have been supporting the inquiry and our work—including members of the public who have come forward to ask questions and provide insights or information about the mass casualty. We are committed to being attentive to the well-being of those most affected and of all Canadians choosing to engage in our work. We know the nature of the events and issues we are investigating can be difficult, and we encourage you to consider the mental health and other wellness supports available on our website.

Remember, if you have information about the mass casualty to share with the Commission, please do not hesitate to contact the Commission at info@MassCasualtyCommission.ca or 902-407-7532. Team members at the Open Houses can also provide advice on how to share information with us.

We are grateful for your help to date as we work to get the answers sought by the public. Together, we are going to help make Canadian communities safer for everyone.

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 Documents

The Commission is creating Foundational Documents that will include the key facts and events leading up to and during the April 2020 mass casualty in Nova Scotia. Foundational Documents summarize large volumes of documents to allow facts to be placed in evidence without requiring each document to be presented orally by a witness during the public hearing. They are intended to promote efficiency in the inquiry process. We expect to begin sharing these Foundational Documents this fall (2021). This factual record will form the basis for our work on understanding how and why the mass casualty happened, and to develop findings and recommendations to help protect Canadians in the future.

Participants

These are individuals and groups who applied for and have been granted the opportunity for appropriate participation in the Commission’s proceedings. In total, there are 60 individuals and groups granted the opportunity for formal participation.

Trauma-informed approach

The focus of a trauma-informed approach is to minimize the potential for further harm and re-traumatization, and to enhance safety, control, and resilience. Trauma is both the experience of, and response to, an overwhelmingly negative event or series of events, including violence. The Commission is guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm.

Mental health and wellness supports

If you need help at any point in the Commission’s process, the Commission’s Mental Health team is here to help you by:

  • Connecting you directly with mental health services and other support providers
  • Sharing information on ways to practice self-care and to self-soothe
  • Discussing specific ways to participate that will not cause further harm or can reduce the harms
  • Listening to feedback on the resources currently available and/or help find supports
  • Offering educational sessions/conversations about the Commission’s work and what to expect in a setting of their choice (i.e. virtual or phone, in their home, at a coffee shop, etc.).

Open House Dates and Locations

Open House – Sunday, September 26

  • When: 6:00PM to 8:00PM
  • Where: Debert Hospitality Centre, 130 Ventura Drive, Debert, NS (Please use Hurricane Entrance)

Open House - Monday, September 27

  • When: 11:00AM to 1:00PM
  • Where: Douglas Street Recreation Centre, 40 Douglas St, Truro, NS

Open House - Tuesday, September 28

  • When: 1:00PM to 3:00PM
  • Where: Legends Gaming & Convention Centre, 15 Legends Ave, Millbrook, NS

Open House - Wednesday, September 29

  • When: 4:30PM to 6:30PM
  • Where: Wentworth Recreation Centre, 13752 Hwy 4, Wentworth, NS

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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