(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UVic political scientist wants B.C. pulp mills to help produce masks, gowns

Claire Cutler says Canada needs to become self-sufficient when manufacturing PPE

Feeding ducks bread crumbs is a harmful habit

Wild Arc suggests to never feed wildlife in general

Greater Victoria Public Library offers new online resource service to cardholders

Friends of the Library provided funding for the service

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

GVPL staggers reopening of three more branches in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

More Greater Victoria Library branches to reopen in August

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read