Nova Scotia

People, groups invited to apply to participate in inquiry into N.S. mass killing

The team leading a public inquiry into the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia last April is inviting people and groups to apply to participate in the inquiry process.

Participants must demonstrate 'direct and substantial interest' in commission mandate

A memorial remembering shooting victim Lillian Hyslop is seen along the road in Wentworth, N.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. The inquiry into the killings of 22 people, including Hyslop, is now seeking applications from those who wish to participate. (Liam Hennessey/The Canadian Press)

The team leading a public inquiry into the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia last April is inviting people and groups to apply to participate in the inquiry process.

The Mass Casualty Commission is a joint federal-provincial body that will investigate the events of April 18 and 19, 2020, when Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people and burned several buildings over a span of 13 hours.

The inquiry will probe the circumstances that led to the killings, how police and various federal and provincial agencies responded, and how victims, their families and citizens were informed and supported.

It will also examine issues such as gender-based violence, access to firearms, the shooter's previous interactions with police, other police actions, communications with the public and between police forces, and police policies and training.

Families of the victims, as well as the federal and provincial governments, have already been given an opportunity to participate in the inquiry. The process is now open to other people and groups who must show a "direct and substantial interest" in the commission's mandate.

People and groups may represent themselves or be represented by a lawyer or another person, with the permission of the commission. The commission will decide how people or groups will be allowed to participate.

Participants may also apply for funding to join the inquiry.

Applications to be part of the inquiry must be submitted by April 6.

Members of the public will be able to observe the inquiry without having participant status.

New team members named

The commission has previously announced the people who will direct the inquiry, and has now named new members of the commission. They include:

  • Roger Burrill, a lawyer who works with the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission.
  • Jennifer Cox, a Truro, N.S.-based lawyer with experience in public inquiries.
  • Emily Hill, a lawyer who has worked for Aboriginal Legal Services in Ontario.
  • Gillian Hnatiw, a civil litigation lawyer with expertise in claims about sexual assault, abuse and exploitation.
  • Kate Kehoe, a lawyer with experience in gender-based violence and the integrity of police investigations.
  • Joel Kulmatycki, a recently retired homicide detective with the Toronto Police Service.
  • Anna Mancini, a criminal defence lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid.
  • Lee Seshagiri, a lawyer at Nova Scotia Legal Aid.
  • Rachel Young, a lawyer for the Ontario Securities Commission.

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