The Supreme Court of Canada will hear three appeals this week, its first of the fall session. The first two appeals involve charges of sexual assault against Indigenous persons, while the third concerns an alleged Charter breach in a search-and-seizure case.
Civil procedure, class actions: While a student at an Indian residential school, a nun grabbed the appellant J.W.’s penis while he was in line for the shower. Following the establishment of the Independent Assessment Process under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, J.W. filed a claim arguing compensable sexual abuse, which was denied on the basis that he had failed to establish the nun’s act had a “sexual purpose.” A supervising judge for the IRSSA in Manitoba partially granted the declaration sought by J.W. and found that the review adjudicators had failed to correct the error of the original hearing adjudicator, namely that J.W. needed to prove a “sexual purpose.” The Manitoba Court of Appeal allowed Canada’s appeal, finding that the supervising judge had exceeded his jurisdiction and misinterpreted the terms of the IRSSA.