The Mass Casualty Commission investigated the April 18-19, 2020 mass casualty event in Nova Scotia.
LEAF participated in the Commission’s proceedings in coalition with Avalon Sexual Assault Centre and Wellness Within.
On April 18 and 19, 2020, a man killed 22 people, including a pregnant women, in Nova Scotia. The mass casualty event also caused significant physical and emotional injuries for many others. Immediately prior to the mass shooting, the perpetrator violently assaulted his common law spouse.
The Mass Casualty Commission was an independent public inquiry created to examine these events and to provide meaningful recommendations to help protect Canadians in the future.
LEAF, Avalon Centre, and Wellness Within supported the Commission’s work, and worked to ensure that its recommendations responded to the harms of gender-based violence in this case and more broadly. Our coalition emphasized the need for:
- Alternative non-carceral responses to gender-based violence
- Safe, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive spaces in community for survivors
- Core funding for community responses
- Increased resources for effective perpetrator intervention
- Wrap-around services for survivors and perpetrators
- Addressing sex worker safety
- Increased screening, transparency, accountability, and oversight mechanisms within professions and institutions
Led by Avalon, our coalition developed and submitted a report reflecting the voices of marginalized members of the community affected by the perpetrator, and their suggestions for recommendations.
The Commission released its final report on March 30, 2023.
The report emphasized the role of gender-based violence in mass casualties, and the need to address this violence to make communities safer. It characterized gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence as a “public health emergency that warrants a meaningful, whole of society response.” It highlighted the need for new, community-based systems that reflect the needs of marginalized survivors.
Click here to view a PDF version of our coalition’s written submissions.
LEAF is grateful to Erin Breen (Sullivan Breen Defence), counsel for the Coalition before the Commission. LEAF is also grateful to Jade Pictou and Marianne Rennie, who previously served as counsel for the Coalition.