News Release Archive

JUSTICE--Compensation Program Adjusted
The program to compensate victims of institutional abuse in three
provincially operated facilities has been adjusted by Justice
Minister Alan Mitchell. The program will change on a number of
fronts to help ensure that only legitimate victims receive
compensation for abuse suffered at the Nova Scotia School for
Boys, the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre and the Nova Scotia
School for Girls.   

"We cannot forget for a moment that there are real victims of
abuse. However, we cannot allow anyone to defraud this program,"
said Mr. Mitchell. "It simply isn't fair to the true victims of
abuse, and to the taxpayers of this province.

"These changes allow us to move forward and to protect the
interests of those who truly deserve to be compensated."

The changes are outlined in guidelines released today by the
province. The province will allow the admission of polygraph
evidence gathered from current and past employees in
consideration of claims. There will be no requirement for victims
to submit to a polygraph test, but that option will continue to
be available if they so choose. Only those tests conducted by a
polygrapher certified by the Canadian Police College are

"This evidence is considered a tool to be used in conjunction
with any other relevant information," said Mr. Mitchell. "Those
making decisions on claims initially and those reviewing the
decisions will place the weight they feel is appropriate on this

Time lines relating to the program have been adjusted. Those
individuals who have not yet completed a compensation claim, must
contact the Internal Investigation Unit (IIU) of the Department
of Justice by Feb. 27, 1998. If they have not contacted the IIU
by this time, the claimant will be considered to have withdrawn
from the program.

The province will make every effort to contact these individuals
to advise of the deadline, either directly (if unrepresented) or
through counsel. The claim does not have to be completed by the
February deadline, but contact must be made with the IIU so the
province can better manage the process and ensure that
outstanding claims are dealt with in a timely and efficient

Completed claims must be filed with the province by July 31,
1998. Claimants must also provide medical releases to the IIU by
April 1, 1998. If releases are not provided by that time, the
claimant will be considered to have withdrawn from the program.   
For those who have completed a claim for compensation, they can
expect a response within seven months. The IIU will investigate
each allegation raised by the claimant and may request additional
statements if necessary. Once requested, should an individual
refuse to provide a statement to the IIU within a six-month
time-frame, the claimant will be considered to have withdrawn
from the program.

Claimants will still have an opportunity to have an independent
lawyer review the decision made by compensation staff. The
reviewers will consider all written material gathered by the
province, the videotape of the claimant's original statement, and
any written information deemed relevant by counsel for the
claimant. If available, the reviewer will also consider the
polygraph evidence as part of the review process and will decide
the appropriate weight placed on that evidence.

The claimant will no longer appear in person before the file
review process. As in the past, current and past employees may
also submit a sworn statement in response to allegations if they
choose. The responsibility of the file reviewer will be to
conduct a review of the record. The list of file reviewers does
not change, and they will continue to review cases on rotation.

The categories for compensation do not change, though there is
additional clarification provided to a definition in two of the
categories. Payments will continue to be provided over time.
Where the amount exceeds $10,000, the claimant shall be paid the
greater of $10,000 or 20 per cent of the total award within 30
days. The balance will be paid over a four-year period in equal
instalments with interest.

Counselling allotments remain unchanged. Up to $5,000 in interim
counselling is available to claimants. Depending on the amount of
compensation provided, claimants can receive up to a maximum of
$10,000 in long-term counselling which can be used for
employment, psychological or financial counselling. Claimants can
also use these funds for employment upgrading, tattoo removal,
dental work or any combination, depending on the needs of the

"In working with claimants over the last several months, it
became clear to us that many individuals needed employment
upgrading as well as counselling, and we wanted to expand our
program to include this," said Mr. Mitchell. "Our goal is to help
those who were harmed get on with their lives."


Contact: Michele McKinnon
         Department of Justice

NOTE TO EDITORS: The Minister of Justice will be available for
comment beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6. Please
contact the above number if you wish to arrange an interview.

ngr                 Nov. 6, 1997                  12:00 p.m.