The Ipperwash Inquiry

  About the Inquiry 
  Commission Counsel 
  Advisory Committee 
  Commission Staff 
  Parties with Standing 
  Legal Information 
  Closing Submissions 
  Transcripts & Exhibits 
  Policy & Research 
  Schedule & Witnesses 
  Media Releases 
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What was the Ipperwash Inquiry?

The Ipperwash Inquiry was a public inquiry that examined the events surrounding the death of Dudley George who was shot during a protest by Aboriginal people at the Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995. The Inquiry also made recommendations aimed at avoiding violence in similar circumstances.

The Inquiry's Report, containing its recommendations and findings, was released to the public on May 31, 2007.

It is available here.

What is a public inquiry?

Governments establish public inquiries to investigate and report on matters of substantial public interest. The mandate of each inquiry is set out in its terms of reference, or, in the case of the Ipperwash Inquiry, in the Order in Council, establishing the Inquiry.

An inquiry is not a trial. The Commission performs its duties without expressing conclusions about civil or criminal liability of any person or organization.

Are public inquiries Government investigations?

No, Inquiries are paid for by the government but, in accordance with the Public Inquiries Act, they are independent. All provincial ministries and agencies are required to co-operate with public inquiries.

Who headed the Ipperwash Inquiry?

The Commissioner, Justice Sidney B. Linden, headed the Ipperwash Inquiry. He is a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice who has served as Chief Justice of the Ontario Court and, immediately before being appointed Commissioner, as Chair of the Board of Legal Aid Ontario.

Who are "Commission Counsel" and what is their role in a public inquiry?

Commission counsel are lawyers who work for the Commissioner. Their role is to represent the public interest. Commission counsel do not represent any particular interest or point of view and, unlike in a trial, their role is neither adversarial nor partisan.

Commission counsel play a key role in locating, organizing and tending the evidence. They are responsible for bringing all relevant evidence to the attention of the Commissioner and, through the inquiry process, to the public at large.

Who participated in the Inquiry?

The Commissioner divided the Inquiry into two parts. Part 1 focused on the events surrounding the death of Dudley George and Part 2 dealt with broad policy issues that formed the basis for recommendations on avoiding violence in similar circumstances in the future.

Seventeen parties were granted "standing" for Part 1 of the Inquiry and twenty-eight for Part 2. Standing entitles parties to participate in the proceedings, to cross-examine witnesses and to other entitlements provided in the Inquiry's Rules of Practice and Procedure.

The Commissioner determined which persons and organizations should be granted standing. This decision was based on the Commissioner's assessment of the extent to which applicants demonstrated a "direct and substantial interest" in the matter(s) being examined by the Commission.

Why were there more parties with standing for Part 2 than for Part 1?

The decision to grant standing for Part 1 was based on the extent to which an individual or organization could contribute to or had an interest in the events surrounding the death of Dudley George. Standing was granted for Part 2 based on the extent to which an individual or group could contribute to or had an interest in developing recommendations aimed at avoiding violence in similar circumstances. Most, but not all parties were granted standing for both Parts I and II. This website lists the parties granted standing in the section Parties with Standing.

Who paid for the parties' participation in the Inquiry?

When the application for standing is made, persons and organizations may also apply for funding. Those granted standing, may also be awarded funding if it is deemed they would not be able to participate in the Inquiry without public funding.

In the case of the Ipperwash Inquiry, some parties did not apply for funding as the cost of their participation was separately addressed due to their status as government officials at time of the incident under investigation.

What was the purpose of Part 1 of the Inquiry?

The purpose of Part 1 was fact-finding - to inquire into and report on the events surrounding the death of Dudley George. Part 1 heard testimony from 139 witnesses. They were examined by Commission counsel and cross-examined by lawyers for the parties with standing.

What was the purpose of Part 2?

The purpose of Part 2 was to gather and analyze information required to make recommendations aimed at avoiding violence in similar circumstances in the future.

A variety of approaches were used to collect and analyze the information. These included:

  • Commissioning research papers
  • Organizing expert panels, symposia and community meetings
  • Inviting papers from interested parties
  • Soliciting the advice of a research advisory committee

The Commission's research plan is posted on this website and the information collected in this phase of the Inquiry is contained in the second volume of the Report.

Is the Government obliged to adopt the Commissioner's recommendations?

No, the recommendations are not binding but past inquiries have had an important effect on public policy.

What did the Inquiry cost?

The cost of the Inquiry up to the end of the March 31, 2007 fiscal year was $13.3 million dollars. This compares favourably with other recent public inquiries such as the Walkerton Inquiry.

How can I contact the Commission?

The Ipperwash Inquiry office is now closed and the general inquiry line is no longer in service. Calls should be directed to the Ministry of the Attorney General's general inquiry line: 416-326-2200 or 1-800-518-7901.

©2007 The Ipperwash Inquiry