Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund continues to assist families

Topics: Nova Scotia
October 17, 2020

In the overnight hours of April 18-19, 2020, Canadians were shocked and saddened by unthinkable tragedy when one man impersonating a police officer killed 22 people, injured three others and set fires to vehicles, houses and other structures at 16 locations in the rural northern Nova Scotia communities of Portapique, Wentworth, Debert, Shubenacadie and Milford before what had become the deadliest rampage in Canadian history ended when an RCMP response team killed the perpetrator.

The Canadian Red Cross was among emergency management partners working closely with the Government of Nova Scotia and law enforcement from the earliest hours of this tragedy. In response to an outpouring of support and sympathy from across Canada and a desire by individuals, groups, businesses and other organizations to help in some way, the Red Cross established the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund to address some of the immediate and longer-term needs of families devastated by this event.

Over the subsequent six months, Canadians generously donated just over $6 million to this fund.

For such an unprecedented case, leveraging its experience in case management for disruptive events, the Red Cross assembled a team that continues to work closely with representatives of impacted families and has consulted law enforcement, the Nova Scotia government, community groups and others with expertise in fields such as crime victim support, and reviewed other mass-casualty events and how subsequent financial supports were managed, all with a goal of ensuring the most effective and compassionate use of these funds.

Throughout this process, the priority of the Canadian Red Cross has been to support impacted families who continue to grieve the loss of loved ones and cope with the emotional and financial trauma caused by this ordeal, and to do so in a manner that respects their privacy and also acknowledges that no two cases are identical and each family is working through their recovery and closure at a different pace.

All donations to the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund will be distributed to eligible individuals and families at a pace the beneficiaries are comfortable with and are held in trust only as long as required. As of October 16, 2020, close to 60 per cent of donations had been distributed or committed, and discussions with family representatives continued to ensure the most compassionate use of the remainder as well as the timing of such payments. No funds will be held for any other use by the Canadian Red Cross.

Specific details of who received payments, amounts and for what purposes will remain confidential. Once distribution of funds is complete, a report on the fund administration approach will be made public offering as much detail as possible while reflecting Canadian Red Cross commitments to the privacy of these families, the humanitarian principles that guide all work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement around the world, complies with our Donor Bill of Rights, and is in keeping with best practices and meets all legal obligations regarding the administration of a trust fund.