(Black Press Media files)

B.C. woman loses bid to sue for negligence in residential school sex assault

Courts find the bus driver was not negligent in getting off the bus just before the assault

A B.C. woman who was sexually assaulted on a school bus while attending a residential school has lost her request to sue the federal government for damages.

In a judgment released Friday, the B.C.’s Court of Appeal said the woman would not be awarded damages because there was no negligence on the part of the school bus driver.

The woman said the assault took place on a bus parked at the Prince Albert Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan after a hockey game. Court documents do not provide the date of the assault, but the residential school operated from 1951 to 1969.

The woman, who is not named in the records, made her claim thought the Independent Assessment Process, which was established to handle claims of serious physical, sexual or emotional abuse suffered at Indian residential schools. Claims are handled by adjudicators.

She told the court that as soon as the bus stopped on school property, the driver exited the vehicle, and immediately following that she and her female schoolmate were grabbed by the boys sitting beside them.

The woman said she was forced down to the floor and sexually assaulted. She cried out, and an older female classmate went to get the bus driver. The driver returned immediately and the assault stopped.

The woman’s claim centres on three questions: did the assault take place on school grounds? Did an adult employee of the school know, or should have reasonably known, that abuse of the sort was happening at the school? Did the adult employee fail to take “reasonable steps” to prevent the assault?

The adjudicator found the woman was sexually assaulted on school grounds and that adult employees of the residential school knew that that kind of abuse was occurring. However, “reasonable steps” did not mean the bus driver had to constantly supervise the students and that there was “a reasonable level of supervision” at the time.

She appealed the rejection of her claim, but it was upheld once by supervising judge and now by the appeals court.

In her reasons, Justice Barbara Fisher found there was no reason to disagree with the supervising judge, who had acted in “accordance with the appropriate principles” in deferring to the conclusions reached by the assessment process.

ALSO READ: Statue of B.C.’s controversial ‘Hanging Judge’ removed from courthouse

ALSO READ: Second $100M settlement reached in RCMP sexual harassment class action


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ucluelet mariners David Payne and Brian Congdon receive Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Long Service Medals

“It is a symbol of their countless volunteer hours they have devoted, the lives they have saved.”

Santa Claus coming to Tofino and Ucluelet

Two pancake breakfast events on Saturday.

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

COLUMN: Zero Waste Holidays, is it possible?

Kristen O’Keefe and Diane Rudge co-own The Den Ucluelet, a zero waste soap dispensary and refillery.

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says Scheer’s resignation not surprising

Pressure is on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, as the lone major party leader remaining in the opposition

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read