Nova Scotia

N.S. Mass Casualty Commission final report delayed

In a notice on Friday, the commission leading the inquiry into the April 2020 massacre where a gunman killed 22 people across the province said it was granted an extension for its final report. The final report was due Nov. 1, 2022, but the new deadline is March 31, 2023. 

Commission's final report now expected by March 31, 2023, instead of Nov. 1, 2022

An RCMP car is seen near a memorial display in Portapique following the mass shooting in April 2020. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

The final report from the Mass Casualty Commission leading the inquiry into the April 2020 massacre where a gunman killed 22 people across the province will be delayed five months.

In a notice on Friday, the commissioners said after making a request, the provincial and federal government granted an extension to submit the final report from Nov. 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023. 

The commission said it's still on track to complete public proceedings by the end of September 2022 as planned and has "not requested any additional funding to accommodate an extension."

Twenty-two people died on April 18 and 19, 2020. Top row from left: Gina Goulet, Dawn Gulenchyn, Jolene Oliver, Frank Gulenchyn, Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins. Second row: John Zahl, Lisa McCully, Joey Webber, Heidi Stevenson, Heather O'Brien and Jamie Blair. Third row from top: Kristen Beaton, Lillian Campbell, Joanne Thomas, Peter Bond, Tom Bagley and Greg Blair. Bottom row: Emily Tuck, Joy Bond, Corrie Ellison and Aaron Tuck. (CBC)

Reasons for the extension request included the timeline for submitting the final report being tight from the start, delays from COVID-19 and "the pace, unpredictability and volume of document disclosure severely affected the commission's ability to meet timelines and progress our work in a timely way."

This past Monday, a lawyer for the commission revealed new notes from retired RCMP assistant commissioner Lee Bergerman were shared during the same period Bergerman was giving evidence to the commission.

Lori Ward, counsel for the federal government, blamed the late disclosure on the time it took to track down the notes Bergerman made in the months before she retired last October.

"We recently received them and were attempting to review them and disclose them before her evidence and I regret that we were not able to do so," Ward said.

The commissioners said the extra time granted will allow them to complete the final report "which will be substantial, with the care and attention it deserves."

"We have said that we want to ensure this process is thorough and the report and its recommendations are beneficial to all Canadians and will help to improve community safety across our country."

With files from Blair Rhodes