Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia announce joint review of Nova Scotia tragedy

News release

July 23, 2020
Ottawa and Halifax 

The horrific events that unfolded in Nova Scotia in April 2020 have shaken all Canadians, and we are united in wanting answers to how and why this tragedy occurred.

We seek to understand why they happened, how healing can take place and how such events can be prevented in the future.

Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, and Nova Scotia Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Honourable Mark Furey, announced a joint review of the April 18 and 19 Nova Scotia tragedy.

A three-member independent Review Panel has been jointly appointed to conduct this review and report back on its findings and recommendations. The Panel will be chaired by Michael MacDonald and include Anne McLellan and Leanne Fitch. The Panel will consider the causes, context and circumstances giving rise to the incident, the response of police, and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.

The review will address a variety of issues relating to the perpetrator, police and other law enforcement agencies, as well as victims and families. Some topics to be reviewed include:

  • contributing and contextual factors including the involvement of gender-based and intimate-partner violence;
  • the perpetrator’s access to firearms;
  • police response; and
  • police communications with the public, victims, their families, the Alert Ready Program and other law enforcement agencies.

The two ministers have committed that all agencies and organizations under their respective jurisdiction and authorities will participate fully in this Review, ensuring that the Review Panel has what it needs to fulfill its mandate. These include, but are not limited to, the RCMP, the Canada Firearms Program, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Criminal Intelligence Service and the national Alert Ready Program.

More information on the joint review and the Independent Review Panel is available.


“The devastating loss of life in Nova Scotia will not soon be forgotten, and all Canadians stand with Nova Scotians as they mourn and search for answers. This review by the three-member independent Review Panel will provide a better understanding of what happened and provide recommendations to help prevent such tragedies in the future.”

- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“I know the victims’ families and survivors continue to experience a level of trauma and grief that most of us cannot imagine. The Government of Nova Scotia is committed to ensuring that they, and all Nova Scotians, get the answers they deserve in a timely manner. We anticipate this Review will generate recommendations that will make our communities safer. We will continue to support and care for the families throughout this process and on the journey ahead.”  

- The Honourable, Mark Furey, Nova Scotia Attorney General and Minister of Justice

Quick facts

  • The Review Panel will carry out its work and process guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm, be trauma informed and be attentive to the needs and impacts upon those most directly affected and harmed.

  • Both the interim and final report outlining findings and recommendations will be made public.

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Mary-Liz Power
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Jill McKenzie
Media Relations Advisor
Nova Scotia Department of Justice

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