Education for reconciliation

Learn how the Government of Canada is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 62 to 65.

62. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:

  1. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples' historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
  2. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
  3. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.
  4. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.

What’s happening?

The Government of Canada is working with the Council of Ministers of Education to enhance knowledge and awareness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis history and culture across Canada and to enhance the knowledge and awareness of teachers, students and school leaders on the history and culture of Indigenous peoples.

Further, Budget 2016 is investing $275 million in language and culture until 2020-2021. Indigenous Services Canada is also working with First Nation partners to transform First Nations elementary and secondary education on reserve, which will include new funding formulas that are enhanced with language and culture investments to meet the specific needs of Indigenous students.

Starting in 2017-2018, Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $3 million per year, for three years, to the First Nations University of Canada to develop a National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education. The national centre will serve as an informational resource base for reconciliation, and will focus on the growing needs of students, educators and the various policy and other decision makers involved in Indigenous K-12 education in Canada.

63. We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including:

  1. Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools.
  2. Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.
  3. Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.
  4. Identifying teacher-training needs relating to the above.

What’s happening?

The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 63.

64. We call upon all levels of government that provide public funds to denominational schools to require such schools to provide an education on comparative religious studies, which must include a segment on Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and practices developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Elders.

What’s happening?

The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 64.

65. We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.

What’s happening?

In establishing a national research program that advances understanding of reconciliation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and its partners must consider and incorporate the perspectives and knowledge systems of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada. Since January 2016, the council has engaged with partners to identify the broad principles of this program. These partners include:

  • the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners and researchers
  • representatives from postsecondary institutions
  • the other federal granting agencies

The council has also been engaging with the relevant government departments to develop the response to Call to Action 65. These include Indigenous Services Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Canadian Heritage, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

The council organized panels at large national academic conferences and funded knowledge synthesis activities to generate discussions on what a national research program on reconciliation would involve. This included panels at the 2017 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Ryerson University and the Gender Summit in Montréal on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge systems, gender issues and community-led research.  Synthesis of engagement activities will support the development of a renewed Indigenous research strategy. 

In October 2017 the Canada Research Coordinating Committee was established.  Part of its mandate is to increase the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader community and to support the Council’s work in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to action 65. The Canada Research Coordinating Committee will support the council's leadership, working in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Indigenous communities, in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call for the establishment of a national research program that will advance understanding of reconciliation. This should include supporting research by and with Indigenous communities and increasing the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community. Budget 2018 proposes to provide the council with $3.8 million in 2018-2019 to support the co-construction of this strategic plan with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and partners.

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