Video Transcripts

My Records, My Choice (Notice Program)


English

Joe, a residential school survivor, has heard in the news that there’s been a decision about IAP and ADR records. In JOE’s meeting with Bob, his Resolution Health Support Program (RHSP) worker, JOE decides to ask some questions to find out more.

You know, BOB, I keep hearing about “my records, my choice.” I have some questions about my IAP records, and actually, I was in the ADR first, so I think I have some ADR records too.

I might be able to answer your questions. What can I help you with?

I guess the first thing I want to know is what exactly are “my records”?

Well JOE, as you know the IAP or Independent Assessment Process was one of the parts of the Settlement Agreement that survivors could apply to for compensation for abuses they suffered in residential school. The ADR—Alternate Dispute Resolution Process—was before the IAP, from 2003 to 2007.

If you participated in the ADR process or in the IAP, records were created to support your claim. The records you’re hearing about, for both processes, are:

  • your IAP and ADR application;
  • the printed record of your testimony, also called the transcript;
  • the voice recording of your testimony; and
  • The decision on your claim. In your case, that would be the decision from your IAP claim, since you switched from the ADR to the IAP.

Okay. Then where are my records now?

Your IAP and ADR records are being kept secure at the IAP Secretariat office in Regina, Saskatchewan.

But there were also other records used in my hearing. What’s happened to them?

The IAP Secretariat is required to automatically destroy other records that were used in deciding your claim, such as your medical and employment records, after the end of your claim.

What about other people involved with my claim?

Anyone else who would have copies of your records because they were involved with your hearing—such as the Government of Canada or a church—is required to keep them confidential and destroy their copies after they are no longer needed for your claim.

But my hearing was a long time ago, and I got my decision soon after. Why am I being asked about my records now?

In October 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on what happens to these records after claims are finished.

As you know, your records contain sensitive information about the abuse you suffered and how it affected you. That includes your name, the information you provided for your application, what you said at your hearing, what the adjudicator said about you in the decision, and the compensation you received.

There may also be information in your records about your health, employment, and if you had any criminal history. You were promised that all of this would be kept private and confidential.

The Court decided that claimants control their own records. This means that as an ADR and IAP claimant, you, and you alone, choose what happens to your records.

The Court said that because these records are private and confidential, they will be automatically destroyed, unless you choose to preserve them for yourself or for history, research, and public education at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. We call it the NCTR.

The Court also said that if you get a copy of your records or have them preserved with the NCTR, the information that identifies other people will be removed––blocked out. That way you control what happens to your records and the privacy of other people is also respected.

Wait, what are those choices? What can I do with my records?

Yes, you have choices, JOE.

  • You can do nothing. Your records will not be shared and they will be destroyed on September 19, 2027.
  • You can ask the IAP Secretariat to send you a copy of your records to keep for yourself, or to share with others.
  • You can preserve your records for history, education, and research by sharing them with the NCTR. If you ask for this, the IAP Secretariat will securely send your records to the NCTR for you.
  • You can both get a copy of your records for yourself and preserve them at the NCTR if you wish.

Whether you want to get a copy of your records or preserve them at the NCTR, you have until September 19, 2027 to let the Secretariat know your decision.

So If I don’t want to share my records, I don’t have to?

No, you don’t. The IAP and ADR promised you confidentiality. That promise is being kept. If you don’t want to share your records with the NCTR or anyone, you don’t have to. And you don’t need to do anything to be sure of that.

Your records will stay secure until they are destroyed on September 19, 2027.

Good. I can see why it’s important to understand that. But if I do want my own copy of my records, what do I have to do?

The IAP Secretariat needs to get a request in writing from you as the claimant if you want a copy of your records. To make it easy, they created a form that you can just fill out and send to the IAP Secretariat by email, regular mail, or fax. The contact information is listed on the form.

They will send your records in a plain envelope to protect your privacy.

So If I want to get my records to leave them with my family, would this be the way to do it?

Yes, that’s right. You request a copy of your own records and do what you wish with them, including leaving them with family or friends.

After I send in my written request for my records, how long does it take to get my copy?

It can take several months. Because these records are confidential and sensitive, the IAP Secretariat must be sure to match the proper records with the person requesting them.

They also have to remove the information in your records that identifies other people. This is done to respect their privacy too.

Consent Form to Preserve IAP or ADR Records at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Huh. So that’s if I want my own copy of my records. Can you tell me more about sharing my records with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation – you called it the NCTR?

Certainly. Let me just grab a copy of the consent form for that.

What’s all this information on the form?

Actually, the information in this consent form is really important because, if you do decide to preserve your records at the NCTR, the consent form is your agreement with the NCTR for that.

Remember though that the records are yours and you are free to share them or not.

The consent form is seven pages long. It explains what your records are and what sharing them with the NCTR means. If you decide to sign the consent form, the IAP Secretariat takes care of sending your records to the NCTR.

We have already gone through quite a bit of the information in the consent form.

Look, for example, page 1 gives a simple explanation of the IAP and ADR and says that the consent form is for people who had IAP or ADR claims. It explains the choices for your records that we have just discussed. And that those choices are yours, and yours alone.

Page 2 describes the records the IAP Secretariat is keeping, as we also discussed before:

  • your application form
  • the transcript of your testimony
  • the voice recording of your testimony
  • the compensation decision on your claim.

Yeah, well I know I must have some records.

Page 2 explains that there is a separate form, if you want to get a copy of your records for yourself.

It tells you about the Court’s decision that because your IAP and ADR records are private and confidential, they will be automatically destroyed unless you choose to preserve them for yourself or with the NCTR.

Right, we’ve just gone through that too.

Page 2 also gives information about the NCTR.

That sounds important to know if I’m interested in sharing my records with them.

Yes, it is. Let’s talk about the NCTR.

The Settlement Agreement that settled the legal claims of residential school survivors created both the IAP and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which you probably know of as the TRC.

And it created the NCTR to hold the records and statements about the residential schools that the TRC gathered.

The NCTR will also hold the IAP and ADR records that claimants choose to share with it. That’s what the consent form is about.

So what does the NCTR do?

The NCTR is hosted by the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

It is a place of learning and dialogue to

  • preserve the history and legacy of the residential schools
  • ensure those memories are never forgotten
  • honour survivors, communities, and others affected by the residential school system
  • promote research into the residential school system and its effects, and
  • foster truth, reconciliation, and healing across Canada.

The NCTR does these things by allowing the public, researchers, educators, survivors and their families to study and learn from its collection of records.

The NCTR works in other ways too, such as by welcoming visitors to tour its gallery and holding public education and community engagement sessions.

The NCTR does some of its work through a network of partner universities, colleges, and other organizations.

I see. Can you tell me who is in charge of the NCTR?

Good question. The NCTR is guided by a Governing Circle.

Survivors or their families or descendants, the University of Manitoba, and other partner organizations are all represented on the Governing Circle. Most of the members of the Governing Circle are Indigenous.

The NCTR also gets advice from a Survivor’s Circle to ensure that the voices of survivors remain central to its work.

The University of Manitoba’s security systems and rules for research involving sensitive, private information apply to the NCTR’s collection of records.

So what happens to my IAP and ADR records if I decide to share them with the NCTR?

The NCTR is committed to the respectful and dignified use of all records in its care and to doing no harm to survivors, communities, and others affected by the residential school system.

The NCTR will share its collection of TRC records with researchers, families, and the public over time and depending on how sensitive they are. Some records will not be shared for many years.

The rules are a little different for IAP and ADR records. Who the NCTR shares those records with will depend on whether a claimant decides they want Restricted access or Open access for their records. Page 3 of the consent form explains more about those two options.

Before we get into the details of those options, can you tell me, if I want to learn more about the NCTR and maybe talk with someone there, how can I do that?

Of course. There are a few ways to get more information about the NCTR.

You can find the NCTR’s information pamphlet and video on its website at: nctr.ca/archives.php.

Or through links on the IAP Information website at: MyRecordsMyChoice.ca

You can also call the NCTR directly with your questions, toll-free at: 1-855-415-4534

Now, you said that if I want to share my records with the NCTR there are two options for doing that?

Yes, the two options are Restricted access and Open access. Let’s look at those on page 3 of the consent form.

That looks complicated.

Not really. The key difference between Restricted access and Open access, is whether the NCTR keeps confidential your name and other information that identifies you. We call that your personal information.

If you want to preserve your records with the NCTR but want your personal information to stay confidential, then Restricted access is for you.

If you want to preserve your records with the NCTR and have them made public with your name in them, then Open access is for you.

Oh, I can understand that difference. It’s an important one.

Yes, it is. Now a little more explanation.

For Restricted access the NCTR may allow authorized researchers to see and use your records for their work. Authorized researchers must follow the University’s research and ethical rules and they must keep your personal information confidential.

If the NCTR uses your records for education it removes your personal information first so you cannot be identified.

For Open access the NCTR may allow your records to be seen and used by researchers, educators, partners in its work, and the public. The NCTR will use your records to promote reconciliation.

Over time and depending on how sensitive your records are, this may include the public release of your records with your name in them. But the NCTR won’t release information that exposes you to identity theft or to being contacted without invitation.

In my hearing and application, I gave a lot of information about myself and other people too. You said that if I ask for a copy of my own records, the information that identifies other people will be removed first. Does that apply here too?

Yes, it does. A note in the middle of page 3 of the consent form says that information that could identify other people will be removed before IAP and ADR records are transferred to the NCTR. This is done to protect their privacy.

I’m not sure I want to see my records. But if I did want to see my records before I decide about preserving them at the NCTR, could I?

Yes. To do that you complete and send in the form we talked about to request a copy of your own records.

Is there more I should understand about preserving my records at the NCTR?

A bit.

Page 3 of the consent form explains that preserving your records at the NCTR will help future generations understand the history, and impacts of the residential schools on First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples and communities. This is an important benefit and reason to consider sharing your records.

For the Restricted access option, even though your personal information stays confidential, there will always be a chance that the NCTR or a researcher could reveal your identity by mistake. You accept that risk and rely on the NCTR to decide what researchers see your records.

For the Open access option, the NCTR decides who sees your records and about naming you publicly in them. You rely on the NCTR to make those decisions respectfully, and accept that you will not be able to control how people, who see your records may react to information about you.

The NCTR has systems and staff to keep its record collections secure. If you share your records with the NCTR, you accept that there still will always be a chance of unauthorized release of your records.

Remind me, how long do I have to make up my mind about this?

You can complete and send in the consent form at any time until September 19, 2027.

If you become unwell and unable to make decisions for yourself, or you pass away, and have not consented to sharing your records with the NCTR, no one else can do that for you. Your records will be automatically destroyed on September 19, 2027.

What if I choose one thing, and then change my mind?

I wondered about that too. Page 4 of the consent form talks about that. If you decide to preserve your records at the NCTR, you can change your mind later. You can change between Restricted access and Open access. Or you can remove your records from the NCTR altogether.

But remember, if you choose Open access and then change or withdraw your consent, your records naming you may have already been made public.

If that has happened, your records can be removed from the NCTR’s collection so that no one else can see them through the NCTR, but the NCTR can’t control what happens to information that has already been released to the public.

Wow. This seems more like a fact sheet than a consent form!

Yes, there’s a lot of information right in the consent form.

Page 4 also explains that the consent form is an agreement between you and the NCTR that is governed by Manitoba laws and a court order.

What matters here is that the agreement and the access option you choose control how your records are preserved. The agreement is permanent. So, for example, if you choose Restricted access your records will stay that way, unless you change your mind and withdraw your records or choose a different access option for them.

And when you pass away, the access option you chose will continue for your records.

Now, let’s go to the page for giving your consent.

On page 6 you are asked to sign your consent to four statements.

First, it says that you have read the consent form or somebody has read it to you.

Second, it says that you do not have to sign the form. If you choose not to sign it, your records will not be shared with the NCTR or anyone else, and they will be destroyed on September 19, 2027. This reminds you that if you don’t want to share your records, you don’t have to and you don’t need to do anything to be sure of that.

The third statement is the place to choose the records you want to preserve with the NCTR. Then, for each record you want to preserve, you choose either Restricted access or Open access.

Can you help me understand that third statement with the check boxes?

The consent form lets you make decisions that you are comfortable with. The records you check will be preserved. The ones you leave blank will be destroyed. If you want, you can check different levels of access for different records.

So I would have to sign for all four statements?

Actually, you sign only once, at the end of page 6. That signature means you accept all four statements.

Like I said before, there is a lot of information, but since it’s a consent form, it’s important that you really understand what your signature means, before you sign.

Page 7 asks for your contact information. To help the IAP Secretariat track down your IAP or ADR records, the form asks for other names you may have used, or other spellings of your name.

Your IAP or ADR claim number will be the best way to identify your records, but you can still send in the form if you don’t know that.

The form asks for phone numbers so that the IAP Secretariat can contact you if they need to clarify anything that will help to identify your records. You’ll notice the part where you put your phone numbers asks you to say yes or no to whether the IAP Secretariat can leave a message.

Your privacy is important, so if the IAP Secretariat staff try to call you, they will leave a phone message only if you clearly show them on the form that it’s okay with you.

And that’s it? Don’t I need to sign too?

Yes, you do need to sign. Below your choices for preserving some or all of your records with the NCTR is where you need to sign your form.

If a claimant signs with a mark instead of a signature, a witness also needs to sign in the separate box for that. If you use a signature, then you would just leave the witness box blank.

And then I’m done?

Well yes, but because you need to give your consent in writing, you still need to get your completed and signed consent form to the IAP Secretariat.

You can do that by regular mail, by email or by fax.

Thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation. Now I have a lot of information to consider before I make my choice about my records and I am glad to know there is a lot of support out there if I have other questions.

If you have questions about your IAP and ADR records, or if you would like us to send you the form you can use to have a copy of your records sent to you, or a consent form for preserving your records with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, call IAP Information toll free at:

1-877-635-2648

Or check out our website:

http://MyRecordsMyChoice.ca

You can also call resource lines:

Assembly of First Nations toll free at 1-833-212-2688

Inuit Representatives have a few numbers you can call.

For the Inuvialuit, call 1-867-777-7018. Or you can call Makivik toll free at 800-369-7052.

And remember that Resolution Health Support Program workers can also answer your questions and assist you with completing forms. The IAP Information, Assembly of First Nations and Inuit Representatives toll free lines, and local band offices, can all help you contact an RHSP worker for your area.

For more information about the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, call the NCTR toll free at:

1-855-415-4534

Or go to the NCTR’s website at:

http://nctr.ca/archives.php

If you are experiencing pain or distress as a result of your residential school experiences, please call the toll-free 24-hour crisis line at:

1-866-925-4419