Blue Line

Key recommendations from Lionel Desmond inquiry, seven years after N.S. killings

January 31, 2024  By The Canadian Press

Jan. 31, 2024, Port Hawkesbury, N.S. – Nova Scotia provincial court Judge Paul Scovil makes 25 recommendations in his final report following a public inquiry into why Lionel Desmond, a former soldier, killed three family members and himself in 2017. Here are some key ones:

— Nova Scotia should work with federal agencies to ensure veterans diagnosed with PTSD or other health issues get a copy of their health file to be entered into provincial records.

— The Nova Scotia Health Department and the provincial health authority should partner with community organizations to provide more comprehensive virtual care to rural African Nova Scotian communities.

— The Nova Scotia Health Department and the provincial health authority should recruit Black and diverse mental health providers to provide culturally informed and responsive care, with appropriate provincial funding. Health officials should also recruit and provide scholarships for Black registered nurses and nurse practitioners.


— The Nova Scotia government should ensure that funding for the Men’s Helpline continues and embark on a public information campaign about access to programs relating to intimate partner violence, with an awareness of African Nova Scotian needs and cultural identity.

— Nova Scotia should require police forces to use an intimate partner violence risk assessment tool in all calls and investigations involving domestic conflict where there is concerning behaviour regarding an intimate partner, even if there is no criminal charge.

— Nova Scotia’s chief firearms officer should work with other provinces to ensure timely sharing of information about people involved in firearms incidents that have been flagged by police, and provincial firearms officers should have access to the federal police database.

— Anyone seeking to obtain or renew a firearms licence should be required to give consent to allow follow-up with a medical practitioner for as long as the licence is valid, and the medical practitioner should be required to report changes in the applicant’s health status. When appropriate, the chief firearms officer should place licences under review and seek additional medical information to ensure licence holders remain eligible and are maintaining good mental health.

— The office of the chief firearms officer should receive additional funding to allow additional and ongoing checks of the mental health status of licence holders.

— The Nova Scotia government should work with other provinces and the federal government to improve the transfer of health records into each other’s databanks.

— Nova Scotia should create a formal implementation committee, with a mandate of at least five years, to ensure the inquiry’s recommendations are followed.

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