Nearly 500 confidential files relating to abuse allegations at Scouts Canada could see the light of day, a lawyer specializing in sexual abuse law said.
"I think that at some point you could see the Canadian files in its totality made admissible in a civil proceeding," Rob Talach told CBC News.
Talach's comments come as confidential files kept by the Boy Scouts of America on men they suspected of child sex abuse were released today in the U.S. after a two-year court battle.
The release of the files on Thursday involves 20,000 pages of documents the Scouts kept on men inside — and in some cases outside — the organization believed to have committed acts of abuse.
A review of how Scouts Canada handled allegations of abuse by its group leaders — prompted by a fifth estate investigation into the system, which recorded the names of pedophiles who had infiltrated its ranks and had been removed from the organization — found that dozens of cases reported to Scouts Canada were not passed on to the police.
Talach said in the case of Scouts Canada, all the names in the files would have to be redacted.
“A the end of the day, You’ll have to go back in certain cases I think and know the identities of those individuals, especially if it appears they may still be at large, if it appears there was a unique aspect to their abuse. So I could see something similar to this happening in Canada down the road.”
While the Scouts Canada files have not been made public, it had the auditing firm KPMG examine 486 records from 1947 to 2011 where adult scouting leaders were suspended or terminated on allegations of sexual misconduct against children and youth.
Steve Kent, chief commissioner and chair of the board of governors for Scouts Canada, said in an email to CBC News on Thursday that the organization undertook the review because it is committed to showing leadership in child and youth safety.
"We wanted to ensure that we protected the privacy of children, youth and their families while simultaneously making sure that the appropriate authorities had the information they needed to deal with real and potential issues of child abuse," he wrote, adding that the Boy Scouts of America operates in a different environment in terms of legal and privacy requirements.
Kent said Scouts Canada was pleased that Boy Scouts of America was making the records available so the cases can be properly addressed.
"However, we feel sympathy for the people who may have chosen to keep their story private, and may find themselves reliving past and present pain, even though their names have been redacted from public view," he wrote.