News Release Archive

Following is a statement released today, Oct. 17, 1995, by
Justice Minister Bill Gillis on progress of recommendations in
the Stratton Report:
"On July 20, 1995, I announced an innovative process to arrive
at compensation for those who were abused in five provincially
operated institutions. On that day, I referred to the  moral
responsibility' the province has to help victims of abuse. I
also believe we have an obligation to keep people informed regarding 
the progress being made in our response to the Stratton report.

To date, 134 of individuals have contacted the Family Services
Association regarding the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) 
process. Of that number, 69 have indicated their desire to
participate in this process.

Family Services Association also advises that 76 individuals
have been referred to counselling services. Family Services
Association is a non-profit agency retained to administer
counselling services to the victims, and to assist with the ADR

The ADR process has been carefully chosen because it is
designed to protect the privacy of the victim. The process is an
alternative to civil litigation. It is driven by a victims'
advocacy group. It empowers survivors by giving them
control--an essential component of the healing process--by giving
them an opportunity for input into the negotiation of the framework
agreement. This process also ensures that public resources
benefit the victim and are not consumed by expensive legal

The victims' group (or groups) is free to choose whomever it
wishes to represent them. The province will pay for legal
representation but has no role in selecting, retaining or
instructing the lawyer chosen by the advocacy group.

Once a framework agreement has been negotiated, all individuals
will be required to seek independent legal advice to ensure
that it is in their best interest to accept the framework that has
been negotiated. The Province of Nova Scotia will also pay for
this consultation.

Participation in this process is strictly voluntary. This is an
option open to survivors in addition to the legal remedies
traditionally available. If an individual wishes to pursue
litigation against the province, they may do so.

In a similar ADR model in Ontario, the framework agreement 
negotiated by group counsel was accepted by 97 per cent of the
independent counsel retained by the victims, with less than
five per cent of available compensation funds going to legal fees.
In contrast, the New Brunswick model provides for 20 per cent of
available compensation funds to go to legal counsel.

A four person team has been named by the Department of Justice
to investigate the conduct and performance of current departmental
employees to determine whether any one should face disciplinary
action stemming from the incidents investigated by Judge

The department's internal investigation is headed by Mr. Bob
Barss, executive director of policing services in the

To date, there are 60 allegations of physical abuse by 25
complainants against a number of employees. The number of
allegations could grow as the investigation proceeds.

Should the investigation uncover anything criminal in nature,
the files will be turned over to the RCMP, for the purpose of its

The Nova Scotia Government Employees Union is fully aware of
the process in place.

Files relating to the investigation are now being collected;
several hundred files have already been secured. The time frame
the investigation is dealing with spans from 1948-1987.

We expect the investigation could take a few months to

While the past can never be changed, we can take steps today to
help survivors recover from the trauma they have suffered, and
go on to rebuild their lives for the future."


Contact: Michele McKinnon

Justice Minister Gillis will be available for comment today
from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m., at the Department of Justice. If you
wish further comment, please contact the above number.

trp                    Oct. 17, 1995