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Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

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OTTAWA, May 22, 2020 /CNW/ – The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Pamela M. Krause, a sole practitioner in Barrie, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court Branch. Madam Justice Kraus replaces Mr. Justice C.F. Graham (Barrie), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 19, 2019. 

Susan Vella, counsel at Rochon Genova LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Vella replaces Mr. Justice M.F. Brown (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2019.

Eugenia (Gina) Papageorgiou, a sole practitioner in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Papageorgiou replaces Madam Justice C.J. Horkins (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 17, 2020.

Audrey P. C. Ramsay, counsel at Blouin Dunn LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Ramsay replaces Mr. Justice G. Czutrin (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 30, 2020.

Narissa Somji, counsel at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Somji replaces Mr. Justice J.E. McNamara (Ottawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective December 30, 2019.

Jana Steele, partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Steele replaces Madam Justice N. Spies (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 25, 2020.

Catriona Verner, associate at Lockyer Campbell Posner LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Verner replaces Mr. Justice A. Sosna (Oshawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective October 18, 2019.

Renu J. Mandhane, Chief Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Mandhane replaces Mr. Justice P.A. Daley (Brampton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 31, 2020.

Biographies

Justice Pamela M. Krause received her LL.B. from the University of Windsor in 1986 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1988.  In 2008, Justice Krause received her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Following her call to the bar, Madam Justice Krause practised civil litigation and family law in Windsor, Ontario, until 1997. She then became legal counsel at the Children’s Aid Society of HamiltonWentworth. In February 2000, she became senior legal counsel and manager of legal services at the Children’s Aid Society of Simcoe County, where she remained until 2010. Justice Krause then returned to private practice, specializing in the area of family law, including child protection law. She was a member of the personal rights panel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and a panel member for the Family Responsibility Office, and she participated in the family duty counsel panel. Justice Krause was also a part-time lawyer member of the Consent and Capacity Board.

Justice Krause has taken an active part in her legal community, most recently as President of the Simcoe County Family Law Lawyers’ Association and Communications Director of the Simcoe County Law Association. She was a Dispute Resolution Officer in Barrie and the lawyer liaison for that program. Justice Krause believes strongly in engaging with the community and has volunteered on various boards and committees. She served as a member of the board of governors for Georgian College for six years. 

In her spare time, Justice Krause travels on her motorcycle and scuba dives with her husband, Reg.

Justice Susan Vella was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1988. She has worked in a range of private practice settings, commencing her legal career at Blake, Cassels and Graydon and later moving to Goodman and Carr LLP, where she became a partner. She has been at Rochon Genova LLP as senior counsel since 2007.

Madam Justice Vella is a pioneer in the field of civil sexual assault. Her practice also focussed on Indigenous issues, public law, and, earlier in her career, commercial litigation. She has acted as trial and appellate counsel at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She received the Advocates’ Society Award of Justice in 2008 and the Law Society Medal in 2009. Justice Vella’s career has reflected her commitment to public service and legal education.  She served as Commission Counsel to the Ipperwash Inquiry, as initial Lead Commission Counsel to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and as a member of Ontario’s Civil Rules Committee.  She is the author of numerous articles and chapters and also co-author of the text, Civil Liability for Sexual Abuse and Violence in Canada (2000).

In the community, Justice Vella served on various boards, including as a board member and then chair of VIVA! Singers of Toronto, an inner city youth choir.

Justice Vella and her long-time partner, Elizabeth, reside in Toronto and are the proud parents of David.

Justice Eugenia Papageorgiou was born and raised in Toronto by Macedonian/Greek parents, within a wonderful community of immigrants. It was her lifelong dream to become a lawyer, and her family and community supported and encouraged her in all things. 

Madam Justice Papageorgiou was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991, practised litigation at Stikeman Elliott LLP and then at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, where she became a partner. Her passion for social justice led her to the not-for-profit sector. Since 2006, she has been counsel to the Class Proceedings Committee of the Law Foundation of Ontario, which facilitates access to justice for the people of Ontario. She has been a Deputy Judge of Small Claims Court since 2009. Her commitment to the legal profession and wish to improve equity, diversity and inclusion led her to become involved with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), where she has been a bencher since 2015. 

Justice Papageorgiou is currently an adjudicator with the LSO and Vice-Chair of the Hearing and Appeal Panel.  She also sits on multiple LSO committees, including the Equity and Indigenous Advisory Committee (EIAC) and the Professional Development and Competence Committee.  She is a former vice-chair of the Access to Justice Committee and the EIAC, vice-chair and treasurer of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, and president of the board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.

Justice Papageorgiou is married to a wonderful husband, Stephen, and is blessed with two daughters, Julie and Lisa, and a golden doodle, Lucy, who are the light of her life.

Justice Audrey P. C. Ramsay was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada at the age of 10. She received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French from Wilfrid Laurier University and an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa. Called to the bar in 1995, she has worked both in house and in private practice, focusing on insurance defence, including property and casualty law, professional negligence, commercial law, and automobile insurance. 

Madam Justice Ramsay joined Blouin Dunn LLP in 2015. She has served on the Civil Rules Committee and on the boards of the Ontario Bar Association, Canadian Defence Lawyers, and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario. She has chaired the Canadian Bar Association Sections Subcommittee, the OBA Civil Litigation Section, the OBA Insurance Law Section, as well as the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Counsel Forum. She has developed numerous professional development programs and is a frequent speaker, and she was one of the architects of the OBA’s Anatomy of a Trial advocacy program.

As Chair of NourishHOPE, Justice Ramsay helped to raise funds to benefit the work of the International Justice Mission Canada, rescuing individuals from modern day slavery and raising awareness of human trafficking.

Justice Ramsay is the 2020 recipient of the OBA Distinguished Service Award. She was inducted into the University of Ottawa Common Law Honour Society in 2018 and received the Lexpert Zenith Award in 2017, as well as the Linda Adlam Manning Award in 2010 from the OBA for volunteerism.

Justice Narissa Somji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to parents of South Asian origin and immigrated to Canada in the 1970s. She earned a B.A. from McGill University in 1989, an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1994, and an LL.M specializing in criminal law from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2009. She was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1996.

Madam Justice Somji started her career as a Crown counsel in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she prosecuted Criminal Code offences and helped launch restorative justice initiatives in Indigenous communities. She returned to Ottawa in 2004 to review wrongful conviction applications on behalf of the Minister of Justice. In 2008, she joined the Department of Justice Competition Bureau legal services unit, where she provided legal advice on mergers, civil and criminal matters under the Competition Act. In 2012, Justice Somji joined the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and specialized in the prosecution of Competition Act offences, regulatory offences, and economic crimes. She has conducted prosecutions in Ontario, Quebec, the Yukon, and Nunavut. pe

Throughout her life, Justice Somji has been an active volunteer and educator. She taught English in the Congo, instructed criminology students at Yukon College, and mentored students attending the University of Ottawa Law School. She has volunteered with community programs within the Ismaili Muslim community, the Chelsea Nordiq Cross Country Ski Club, and, more recently, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants in Ottawa. 

Justice Somji resides in Ottawa with her spouse, Toby Sanger, and their two children.

Justice Jana Steele was born in Toronto and raised in Georgetown, Ontario, graduating from Georgetown District High School.  She completed her Commerce degree at Queen’s University, and her legal studies at Western University in London, Ontario, where she was also president of the Student Legal Society and a recipient of the Dean Ivan C. Rand Award.

After her call to the bar in 1997, Madam Justice Steele worked at Stikeman Elliott LLP and was a partner at Goodmans LLP and, most recently, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. She started as a taxation associate at Stikemans and later transitioned to trusts, estates, and the growing and important area of pensions law while at Goodmans. Prior to her appointment, Justice Steele was an industry-leading practitioner at Oslers, with experience in all aspects of pensions law, including plan design, administration, governance, restructuring and insolvency, and complex transactional work. 

Justice Steele has chaired the pensions and benefits executive for the Ontario Bar Association and the Steering Committee for the International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association. She was also a member of the legal advisory committee to the former pension regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, for many years. 

Justice Steele and her husband, who is also a lawyer, have a wonderful teenage daughter and an energetic two-year-old son to keep them young. She is an avid reader, and keeps active swimming, walking and biking.

Justice Catriona Verner was born in Kingston and lived in a variety of places throughout her youth, including New Zealand, Japan and Europe.  She returned to Kingston to complete an undergraduate degree in Commerce.

While working on her degree, Madam Justice Verner started volunteering with the John Howard Society. Through her work with those serving life sentences at Kingston Penitentiary, she developed an interest in criminal law and turned her focus to legal studies.  She graduated from Queen’s Law School in 1999 and began a practice in criminal defence work. She completed articles at what was then known as Hicks Block Adams LLP and continued as an associate specializing in criminal appeals until she left the firm in 2016.  Since then she has been practising with Lockyer Campbell Posner LLP, where her work has been almost exclusively at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Justice Verner has spoken at conferences, published several papers, lectured at multiple law schools, and been asked to appear at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Ontario criminal defence bar as an intervenor for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

Justice Verner, her husband, Corbin Cawkell, and their six-year-old daughter are active members of the Republic of Rathnelly community in Toronto.

Justice Renu J. Mandhane received her J.D. from the University of Toronto, articled at Torys LLP, and was admitted to the Law Society of Ontario in 2002. She received her LL.M. from New York University in 2003, publishing her thesis in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.

Madam Justice Mandhane practised criminal law with with Diane Oleskiw (now Justice Oleskiw of the Ontario Court of Justice) from 2003 to 2008. She advocated for the rights of women as accused persons, complainants in sexual assault matters, and prisoners. She led the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program from 2009 to 2015. As an adjunct professor, she mentored students, educated judges through the National Judicial Institute, and made presentations at the United Nations. She appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in Chevron v Yaiguaje and Ezokola v Canada

Justice Mandhane was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2015. She appeared before parliamentary standing committees and led public inquiries into discrimination in policing, education and child welfare. Under her leadership, the OHRC obtained an order from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario requiring Ontario to prohibit segregation for prisoners with mental health disabilities.

Ms. Mandhane’s work has been recognized by the International Commission of Jurists, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Excellence Canada, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and Desi Magazine. In 2018, she was gifted an eagle feather in recognition of her efforts to advance Indigenous reconciliation.

Justice Mandhane was born and raised in Calgary by Indian immigrant parents. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Quick Facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 380 judges have been appointed since November 2015. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of visible minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 provides funding of $77.2 million over four years to support the expansion of unified family courts, beginning in 2019-2020. This investment in the family justice system will create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • In addition, Budget 2018 provides funding for a further seven judicial positions in Saskatchewan and Ontario, at a cost of $17.1 million over five years.
  • Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • Significant reforms to the role and structure of the Judicial Advisory Committees, aimed at enhancing the independence and transparency of the process, were announced on October 20, 2016.

SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Justice, 613-992-6568, [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, 613-957-4207, [email protected]

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Education

University of Toronto receives single largest gift in Canadian history from James and Louise Temerty to support advances in human health and health care

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A $250-million gift will support discovery, collaboration, innovation, equity and student well-being across the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated hospital network, advancing its leadership as a global centre of excellence in human health and health care.

The transformational gift from the Temerty Foundation, established by James and Louise Temerty, will support advances in machine learning in medicine; biomedical research and collaboration across Toronto’s health-science network; innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship; equity and accessibility in medical education; and the creation of a new state-of-the-art Faculty of Medicine building for education and research.

Watch as President Meric Gertler announces this historic gift

The gift also includes a $10-million allocation to the Dean’s COVID-19 Priority Fund, which was advanced and pre-announced in April of this year. This component of the gift continues to support front-line clinical faculty members and trainees, as well as researchers at U of T and partner hospitals seeking to improve testing, accelerate vaccine research and create better treatments and prevention strategies.

In gratitude for this extraordinary benefaction, the university’s Faculty of Medicine will be named the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine is widely regarded as Canada’s finest and among the world’s best, ranked sixth in clinical medicine and health sciences by the highly respected Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

“James and Louise Temerty’s gift marks the start of a new era,” said U of T President Meric Gertler. “It lifts Canadian philanthropy to an unprecedented level of vision and generosity. And it propels U of T’s globally renowned Faculty of Medicine and hospital partners to a position of even greater scientific and clinical leadership in tackling today’s – and tomorrow’s – greatest challenges in human health care.

“Arriving amidst a global health crisis, the Temerty family’s generosity is truly a gift of hope – hope for what we can achieve together, long after the present crisis has passed, in the comprehensive advancement of human health and health care in the Toronto region, across Canada and around the world,” President Gertler continued. “On behalf of the entire University of Toronto, I would like to offer our deepest gratitude to the Temerty Foundation – to James and Louise Temerty, and to Leah Temerty-Lord and Mike Lord – for their leadership.”

“I would like to thank James and Louise Temerty for their incredible investment in U of T Medicine,” said Trevor Young, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and vice-provost, relations with health care institutions. “Their gift will touch every aspect of our programs, impacting education, research and clinical care across the region and around the globe. It will allow us to respond nimbly to exciting research and partnership opportunities as they arise and lead the way to big medical breakthroughs. It will help us to offer innovative physician training, which will lead to the very best patient care. Ultimately, it will elevate the Faculty’s international standing among the world’s greatest faculties of medicine.”

Founded in 1997 by James and Louise Temerty, the Temerty Foundation has provided significant philanthropic support to health care, education and culture in Toronto and beyond. In the health-care space, their contributions have established the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the world’s first international tele-simulation centre in medical education at University Health Network. These institutions are part of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN), the unparalleled network of research, teaching and community hospitals and health-care centres that U of T anchors. The Temerty Foundation’s gift to U of T leverages its previous giving and expands its impact across the network.

“We were motivated to help the University of Toronto do what it does best – elevate quality health care and ultimately help as many Canadians as possible,” said James Temerty. “Our hope is that this gift will further Toronto’s and Canada’s global leadership in providing the highest quality health care and help to address the most pressing health challenges. We are honoured to be doing our part by partnering with the University.”

A Gift with Far-Reaching Impact

With investments allocated over a multi-year period, the Temerty family’s gift will have a tremendous impact on health science, health-care innovation and health education by:

  • Establishing a new Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine, which will capitalize on U of T’s internationally recognized strengths in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning—technologies that are revolutionizing diagnostics, drug discovery, surgery and patient care.
  • Launching a dedicated TAHSN Fund to support collaborations across the Toronto Academic Health Science Network – U of T’s partner research and teaching hospitals – with the potential for impact on clinical research and patient well-being in a wide range of areas, from neurodegenerative disease to cancer to suicide prevention.
  • Accelerating research with the potential for breakthroughs in fundamental, translational, clinical and rehabilitation science, such as the faculty’s pioneering work in regenerative medicine, personalized medicine and precision medicine.
  • Enhancing the Temerty Faculty’s innovation and entrepreneurship activities, to catalyze new ideas, and amplify Toronto’s growing reputation as a global hotspot for health innovation.
  • Training and retraining the leading doctors of the future with the skills required for 21st-century challenges, arming them with critical abilities in technology, personalized medicine, wellness, nutrition and clinical care, ultimately resulting in better patient care and improved access to medical education for Indigenous and other under-represented populations.
  • Establishing an Elder-in-Residence and a Circle of Elders, to support Elders working with the Temerty Faculty and ensuring Indigenous health education and leadership is supported in perpetuity.
  • Creating a Dean’s Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Fund to enable flexible and nimble funding for investments in star researchers, equipment and new initiatives as opportunities arise.
  • Creating a new state-of-the-art Faculty of Medicine building for education and research, prominently situated at the corner of King’s College Road and King’s College Circle.

The International Excellence of U of T Medicine

According to all respected international ranking systems, U of T is Canada’s top medical faculty and among the world’s best, standing in the company of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Oxford and Stanford. U of T’s groundbreaking discoveries over the past century have contributed greatly to human health and health care around the world. These include Frederick Banting and Charles Best’s discovery of insulin, which has saved the lives of millions of people suffering from diabetes; James Till and Ernest McCulloch’s discovery of stem cells, which gave birth to the field of regenerative medicine and the use of therapeutic stem cells and tissue engineering to regrow, repair or replace damaged cells, organs and tissues; and Lap-Chee Tsui’s discovery of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis, which is playing a vital role in our understanding of this devastating disease.

This U of T tradition of innovation and pioneering research continues today in many areas, including precision medicine, where carefully designed therapeutics target disease at the molecular level, and personalized medicine, which draws on U of T’s leading strengths in AI, big data and genetics to treat and prevent disease based on an individual’s genes, environment and lifestyle.

With a single medical faculty standing at the centre of a network of outstanding research and teaching hospitals, U of T’s superb talent, interdisciplinary excellence and collaborative spirit continue to deliver solutions for our planet’s most pressing health challenges.

An Iconic New Hub for Medical Education and Research

The Temerty Foundation’s donation will help to provide a new state-of-the-art education and research building through the redevelopment of the faculty’s west building on the corner of King’s College Road and King’s College Circle, prominently situated in the heart of U of T’s St. George campus across from historic Convocation Hall.

In recognition of their generosity, the university will name this new development the James and Louise Temerty Building. It will serve as an important centrepiece for the Temerty Faculty of Medicine – a place where researchers, partners and students will gather to share ideas and consider answers to scientific, health and clinical questions. In keeping with U of T’s long-standing commitment to excellence in architecture, the building will be designed to enrich the campus and the student learning experience.

With laboratories equipped with the latest equipment for biomedical research, specially designed teaching labs and modular spaces, and unique spaces to spark collaboration and dialogue among students and researchers, the new building will help draw top talent, support medical discovery and innovation, and become a vibrant hub for public engagement and academic partnerships.

A Watershed Moment for Philanthropy in Canada

The Temerty Foundation’s $250-million gift to the University of Toronto is the single largest gift ever made in Canada and among the largest gifts made internationally to a faculty of medicine. 

“This is truly a landmark moment in the history of Canadian philanthropy,” said David Palmer, vice-president, advancement. “Their generosity, and our gratitude, will resound in us forever, and in the hearts of countless individuals across the world who will benefit from the advances in human health and health care enabled by this magnificent gift. Canada is fortunate indeed to have such remarkable individuals as Jim and Louise Temerty, so selflessly dedicated to improving the lives of others.”

In 1987, James Temerty founded Northland Power as one of Canada’s first and still pre-eminent developers, financiers, constructors, owners and operators of independent power facilities with long-term financial and physical sustainability and predictability in mind. The company was created with innovation and environmental stewardship at its core. Starting with the first large-scale biomass generation project in Canada, to high efficiency clean natural gas cogeneration, to early adoption of onshore wind and utility-scale solar generation, the company has led the way in Canada. It is now also a world-class leader in the burgeoning international offshore wind industry. The company takes to heart its social responsibilities by using its facilities and businesses to improve the communities in which it operates. Through this commitment, it has, to date, entered into partnerships with 10 Indigenous communities who have thereby obtained equity ownership in Northland’s projects in their traditional territories.

The Temertys are noted philanthropists and volunteers, and are both recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to their community. Between them, James and Louise have five honorary doctorates, and through the Temerty Foundation, they have supported a number of endowments and scholarships in Canada and abroad. In addition to the health-care initiatives described earlier, they have established the Temerty Chair in Focused Ultrasound Research, and the Surgical Training Partnership with Ukraine at Sunnybrook Research Institute; the Temerty Foundation RGNEF Research Fund for ALS at Western University; and the Ukrainian Paediatric Fellowship Program at The Hospital for Sick Children. They are also donors to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and Help Us Help. In 2008, James, with Louise’s encouragement, founded the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE), a multinational project that aims to build a sound foundation for future interaction among Ukrainians and Jews.

In 2008, James was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, in 2010, he was named Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and in 2015, he was honoured with Ukraine’s Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, which is the highest tribute Ukraine can confer to a foreign citizen who has not been a head of state. 

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Northwestern B.C. Indian day school to be demolished by Gitanyow First Nation

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To Wanda Good and other members of Gitanyow, the demolition of the Kitwancool Indian Day School’s building this week represents a new chapter in their lives, healing the trauma they suffered during a racist education at the federally operated institution.

On Wednesday, Good conducted a small ceremony at the school she attended from 1972 to 1980, to call back what she believes are the spirits of students that may still linger inside the building after years of abuse.

“We believe that we are our ancestors reincarnated,” she said. “The part of the spirit of that child remains where there was a trauma.”

Located on the Gitanyow reserve, a remote Indigenous community about 260 kilometres northeast of Prince Rupert, B.C., Kitwancool is among the 700 Indian day schools operated across Canada from the 1860s to 1990s. The purpose of the schools was to assimilate Indigenous children by eradicating their native languages and cultures. These schools were publicly funded and often had religious affiliations.

Years of trauma in Kitwancool day school

Kitwancool day school was established by Prince Rupert’s Anglican Diocese of Caledonia in 1938, after a representative wrote to the federal Department of Indian Affairs that local First Nation people needed education in English. It was housed in a log cabin owned by Gitanyow chief Walter Derrick until its formal campus was built in 1949.

But the education that Good and hundreds of other Indigenous children received is more a torture than enlightenment.

“I did experience and witnessed lots of strapping, punching, pulling ears,” said Good. “We actually had music teachers that … would teach us these very racist songs that we would have to sing.”

“We were not allowed to speak our language in the classroom. The children were strapped every time someone said a Gitxsan word.”

In its letter to federal Department of Indian Affairs in 1937, Prince Rupert’s Anglican Diocese of Caledonia discussed the need to build Kitwancool Indian Day School to educate Indigenous children in English. (Library and Archives Canada)

The nightmare ended in 1986, when the school was closed and students were transferred to the Gitanyow Independent School that currently provides kindergarten to Grade 6 education to about 60 children.

The day school premises were repurposed into the Gitanyow Band’s administration office before turning into a gas station several years ago. In light of the building’s disrepair, the band council decided to demolish it and has plans to erect a new gas bar at the same location.

Good said many former students of Kitwancool day school have applied for the federal Indian Day School Settlement program, which offers compensation between $10,000 and $200,000 based on abuse suffered. 


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Students left out of a vision for a “Stronger and More Resilient Canada”

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OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 23, 2020 /CNW/ – Students are disappointed by the Federal Government’s continued lack of support, following today’s Speech from the Throne. Today’s speech promised ambitious job creation strategies, which will include scaling up the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, and helping workers receive education and accreditation. The speech made no mention of investments into post-secondary education or increased support for students – both of which are crucial for this vision.

After a summer of precarious working conditions, a lack of financial support for international students and recent graduates, and the cancelled Canada Student Service Grant, students hoped that this new parliamentary session would include increased support for post-secondary education. “Throughout the pandemic, the Federal Government has failed to adequately support students. International students and recent graduates were excluded from support plans, and those that were eligible didn’t receive enough” said Nicole Brayiannis, Canadian Federation of Students Deputy Chairperson. Instead of bridging these gaps, today’s Throne Speech emphasized a focus on job training and creation. Brayiannis added, “Students want to remind the Trudeau Government that investing in post-secondary education and supporting students who are already receiving training is essential to the goals that were identified today.”

Since March, students have been calling on the Federal Government to provide adequate financial support to ensure they can afford to continue their education amidst the current crisis. “The Trudeau Government needs to stop and listen to what students are asking for,” said Sofia Descalzi, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Students want the same support as everyone else to help them through this pandemic. Instead, they’ve been met with patchwork programs.”

Following the cancellation of the failed Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), students have called for CSSG funds to be reallocated into a four-month extension of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), an increase of the CESB to $2000 per month, and the expansion of CESB eligibility to include international students and recent graduates. Most recently, students have endorsed Motion 46, to convert the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) into a guaranteed livable basic income.

Students assert that investments into post-secondary education are crucial for a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Current students and recent graduates need adequate financial support right now. At the same time, the Federal Government should begin to move towards investing in a post-secondary education system that is fully publicly funded. By ensuring that everyone can access the post-secondary education they need, we all stand a better chance at rebuilding the economy.

The Canadian Federation of Students unites over 500,000 college and university students and more than 60 students’ unions throughout the country.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: Melissa Palermo, Staff: [email protected] or 416-529-8205; Sofia Descalzi, Chairperson: [email protected] or 613-232-7394; Nicole Brayiannis, National Deputy Chairperson: [email protected] or 289-200-2375

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