Supreme Court rules that Indigenous residential school records can be destroyed.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that thousands of sensitive records pertaining to abuses at Indigenous residential schools are confidential and should be destroyed.

The 38,000 accounts will be retained for a 15-year period, during which time survivors can choose to have their records preserved.Failing that, the documents will be destroyed.

The ruling reads, “While this order may be inconsistent with the wishes of deceased claimants who were never given the option to preserve their records, the destruction of records that some claimants would have preferred to have preserved works a lesser injustice than the disclosure of records that most expected never to be shared.”

From the 1860s to the 1990s, more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were required to attend residential schools run by religious organizations and funded by the federal government. Thousands of them were physically, emotionally and sexually abused.

The federal government had fought to retain the records for historical purposes under the Library and Archives Canada.Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett said she was “very disappointed” by the decision.

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