Timeline - Indian Residential Schools

Some 150,000 Aboriginal children were removed and separated from their families and communities to attend residential schools. There were over 139 schools located in every province and territory except Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. While most Indian Residential Schools ceased to operate by the mid-1970s, the last federally-run school closed in the late 1990s.

March 27-30, 2014

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its final national event in Edmonton, Alberta.

September 18-21, 2013

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its sixth national event in Vancouver, British Columbia.

April 24-27, 2013

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its fifth national event in Montreal, Quebec.

November 26, 2012

Dedication of the stained glass window commemorating the legacy of Indian Residential Schools. The window was installed directly above the west door of Centre Block where the Members of Parliament enter.

June 21-24, 2012

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its fourth national event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

January 24, 2012

Historic Crown-First Nations Gathering was held, building on the Canada-First Nations Joint Action Plan.

October 26-29, 2011

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its third national event in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Minister Duncan announces that the Government of Canada will commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools through a permanent installation of stained glass artwork in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.

June 28 to July 1, 2011

Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its second national event in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

January 4, 2011

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission jointly launched a $20 million commemoration initiative, which provided former students, their families and communities the opportunity to pay tribute to their experiences by acknowledging the impacts of the residential school system.

August 18, 2010

The Government of Canada apologizes to the Inuit families who were forcibly relocated to the High Arctic.

June 16-19, 2010

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission held its first national event in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At this event, Canada announced its intent to repeal those sections of the Indian Act that allowed for the establishment of Indian Residential Schools and the removal of children from their homes and communities.

October 15, 2009

Governor General Michaelle Jean re-launched the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

July 1, 2009

Justice Murray Sinclair became the new Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while Chief Wilton Littlechild and Marie Wilson assumed the responsibilities of Commissioners.

June 11, 2008

The spiritual leaders of the Anglican, Presbyterian and United Churches, along with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the leaders of the five national Aboriginal organizations, and the other signatories of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement were in the House of Commons to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper offer a Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools.

June 1, 2008

Justice Harry Laforme was appointed Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Claudette Dumont-Smith and Jane Morley were appointed as Commissioners. Justice Laforme resigned on October 20, 2008 and the remaining Commissioners resigned effective June 1, 2009.

September 19, 2007

Implementation of the IRSSA began.

The implementation of this historic agreement brings a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools. Former students could now benefit from the individual and collective measures provided by the IRSSA:

April 1, 2007

Launch of the Advocacy and public information program.

March 2007

The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement received approval from nine courts across Canada. This launched a five month opt-out period in which former students could choose to reject the IRSSA.

May 10, 2006

The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement was approved by all parties the Agreement. It is the largest class action settlement in Canadian history.

May 30, 2005

November 2003

The Government of Canada launches the National Resolution Framework, which includes a litigation strategy, health supports, a Commemoration program and an Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

June 2001

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada was created as a separate department with the mandate to address the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and to manage and resolve claims.


The Government of Canada announced Gathering Strength, Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan. The Plan included the establishment of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and a Statement of Reconciliation.


The final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was released. It recommends a public investigation into the violence and abuses at residential schools and brings the experiences of former students to national attention.


The Indian Act is enacted. It contains a number of clauses that allow the federal government to establish Indian Residential Schools.

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