Québec Superior Court Proceeding Hears Evidence of Cadaver Dogs Identifying Possible Human Remains

Cadaver dogs have identified evidence of human remains at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, the Québec Superior Court in the matter of Kahentinetha et al. v Société Québécoise des Infrastructures et al heard today.  Justice Gregory Moore presided at the case management conference in the proceedings this morning and heard firsthand of the security and cultural concerns that the findings have prompted. Three separate dog teams searching the site all independently alerted to the same area on the grounds as detecting the odour of human remains. The report and findings by the dog teams is included below.

These findings by the dogs were at the heart of the discussion during today’s case management conference. The group known as the Mohawk Mothers, who initiated these proceedings to halt re-development of the hospital grounds pending proper archeological investigation of the potential of unmarked burials of Indigenous children, expressed their concerns that such a significant finding by the dogs was made so early in the process. The Mohawk Mothers also indicated to the Court that they do not believe security at the area identified by the dogs is sufficient, and that their cultural protocols were not being respected in respect of possible human remains.

Kimberly R. Murray, the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential Schools (“Special Interlocutor Murray”), is an Intervenor in the proceedings. Representatives from the Office of the Special Interlocutor attended Thursday’s case management conference, along with counsel from Falconers LLP, Julian Falconer, who has the honour of acting for Special Interlocutor Murray in these proceedings along with Don Worme KC.

Special Interlocutor Murray recently released her interim report entitled “Sacred Responsibility: Searching for the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials”. Her report includes firsthand stories from the Survivors of Indian Residential Schools as well as their families and explains the challenges and difficulties they face when attempting to determine the fate of loved ones that did not return from these institutions. Special Interlocutor Murray’s report specifically looks at the issue of access to archives and records as these are a source of information for these families, and how the current Canadian legal framework does not adequately support Survivors in their journey for answers and truth.

Related Documents:

Homologated (Approved) Settlement Agreement – April 6, 2023

Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs (“HHRDD”) Report – June 9, 2023

Special Interlocutor Interim Report – June 2023

Media Coverage:

Matthew Lapierre, CBC News (June 29, 2023) – “Cadaver search dogs fid evidence of bodies buried on grounds of Montreal’s old Royal Victoria Hospital”

Emelia Fornier, APTN News (June 29, 2023) – “Cadaver dogs sniff out potential human remains near old Royal Victoria Hospital site”

Previous Postings:
https://falconers.ca/historic-deal-in-search-of-indigenous-children/ – April 20, 2023

https://falconers.ca/quebec-superior-court-orders-stop-to-excavation-at-mcgill-royal-victoria-hospital-site/ – October 28, 2022

https://falconers.ca/independent-special-interlocutor-kimberly-r-murray-seeks-to-intervene-to-protect-missing-children/ – September 7, 2022

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