Official urges government to investigate sexual assault at Canada’s university

A federal lawmaker from the province of Ontario urged the federal and Ontario governments on Wednesday to investigate suspected sexual assault on residential schools and any other sexual assault that might happen on Canadian universities.

Deputy Liberal leader Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said Wednesday that he will send a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne asking that they review their rules. He said that he has heard from a number of people who are “upset” at the lack of action.

The Center for Constitutional Rights on Wednesday filed a petition to force the government to release the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which made recommendations about dealing with the sexual abuse of First Nations’ children. The commission called for a new agency to look into cases of sexual abuse within residential schools.

A minister of indigenous affairs minister gave brief, first-hand accounts of how the survivors, now older adults, went through the proceedings of the commission in the December 2016 speech.

“We need a serious discussion about,” what new model should be created to protect victims, and instead of “pretending that it didn’t happen,” Erskine-Smith said. “That may be an excuse or it may be reality. … This is important.”

The Canadian government pays for the care of certain Indigenous sexual assault survivors, including those who were sexually abused at schools.

The Canadian government in 2013 passed the NewFrontiers Act, which included a provision that protected survivors. The act also mandated in the new legislation that all sexualized violence cases should be reported to the police, and all information about those complaints must be provided to the RCMP.

However, the law gave no way for an individual survivor to find out whether that happens, and the police provided no updates for these cases.

In 2016, the government released its original bill, which still applied to survivors of residential schools and universities, but also mandated that universities would “review and inquire” into whether a student had been sexually assaulted, even if the police were not investigating.

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