News Release Archive


An overwhelming volume of claims and new information has prompted
Justice Minister Jay Abbass to call for a review of the program
to compensate victims of abuse at three provincially operated

The minister reiterated his commitment to compensate those with
legitimate claims for compensation. The volume of claimants is
now estimated at 1,250.

"Given these numbers, and the new information that has been
located, we believe the only responsible step is to take the time
to review this program," said Mr. Abbass.

Recently, government's records management centre began automating
its files. Through that process, 30 boxes of files sent to
storage from the Department of Community Services were found.
These files, originally thought destroyed, contain personal
information ranging from medical records to incident reports at
Shelburne. As late as Wednesday, the internal investigation unit
found additional information that is relevant to the process.
Microfiche records dating back 40 years have been located.

"We feel we have a responsibility to fully review this
information, and want to take the time to do that," the minister

"We are still committed to an alternative dispute resolution
(ADR) process. It is a confidential and compassionate alternative
to litigation. We need to step back now, and take stock of where
we are," said Mr. Abbass.

Claims for compensation will still be received. The deadline of
Dec. 18, 1996 to file a notice of claims remains in place.
However, investigation and processing claims may take longer than
originally planned. Claims that have already been accepted will
be paid out, but for the time being, no further settlements will
be offered. Mr. Abbass could not say how long the review would
take, but gave the assurance it will proceed as quickly as

Former New Brunswick Chief Justice Stuart Stratton completed his
investigation in June, 1995. He identified 89 victims, and
confirmed that abuse did occur at three provincially operated
institutions over a period of decades.

In July, 1995, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that an
alternative dispute resolution process would be put in place. As
the Stratton report identified 89 victims, it was anticipated
that number would double, and $12 million was set aside for

In February, 1996, negotiations began with counsel, who advised
they represented 212 victims. By March, 1996, counsel advised
that they represented approximately 350 victims.

In May of 1996, the former Minister of Justice issued a public
apology and announced that $33 million had been set aside to
provide compensation. Acceptance of claims began in June. At that
time it was estimated as many as 500 people would be coming

The option of litigation remains open.

"We are committed to providing compensation to those who
legitimately deserve it. We remain committed to an ADR process.
We believe that taking this time now is the only responsible
option for government," said Mr. Abbass.


Contact: Michele McKinnon  902-424-6811

NOTE TO EDITORS: Justice Minister Jay Abbass will be available
for interviews until 12 noon on November 1, 1996. Please contact
the above number to arrange an interview.

trp                  Nov. 01, 1996 - 10:36 a.m.