(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

Witset writes its own cannabis law

First Nation says it is their constitutional right to govern cultivation and sale of marijuana

Police watchdog recommends charges in 2017 in-custody death of Witset man

Dale Culver was pepper-sprayed by RCMP in Prince George and died later in hospital

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read