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 invested $275 million in language and culture until fiscal year 2020 to 2021. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is also working with First Nations 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 fiscal year 2017 to 2018, ISC is contributing $3 million per year, for 3 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 kindergarten to grade 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 (SSHRC) and its partners must consider and incorporate the perspectives and knowledge systems of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada. Since 2016, the council has engaged with Indigenous community leaders, students and researchers and other partners to help 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
  • other federal granting agencies

Since 2016, SSHRC has also been engaging with the relevant government departments and agencies to develop the response to Call to Action 65. These include Indigenous Services Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Global Affairs, Environment Canada and Canadian Environmental Assessment.

SSHRC organized sessions and workshops at major academic conferences and funded knowledge synthesis activities to generate discussions to help frame key elements of national research program on reconciliation. This included sessions at the 2017 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Ryerson University and the International Gender Summit in Montréal that addressed the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge systems, gender issues and community-led research.

In July 2018, SSHRC released a summary report highlighting results of 28 knowledge synthesis grants as well as discussions at 2 major forums that addressed the knowledge systems, experiences and aspirations of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Between fiscal years 2011 to 2012 and 2018 to 2019, 22% of SSHRC's Partnership Grants were focused on Indigenous research undertaken by and with Indigenous peoples.

In October 2017, the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) was established. The CRCC reaffirmed its commitment to the Call to Action 65 and set out a priority for a national dialogue to identify new models for research and research training that would increase the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community.

For Inuit, co-construction will be guided by the National Inuit Research Strategy of March 2018.

In Budget 2018, $3.8 million was committed to develop a strategic research plan that identifies new ways of doing research with Indigenous communities, including strategies to grow the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community. SSHRC is administering this initiative in collaboration with the other granting agencies. An engagement plan was developed to meet the objectives of the Budget 2018 allocation. A draft strategic plan that outlines 2 streams is currently being co-developed with Indigenous communities:

  • stream A: featured a series of roundtables and workshops with First Nations, Inuit and Métis community members, organized in partnership with Indigenous organizations. This stream also included engagement through an online platform and the convening of the Connection grant holders (see below) with Indigenous community members at a national dialogue held in March 2019. A total of 14 regional events took place between July 2018 and March 2019.
  • stream B: featured a special call for Indigenous Research and Reconciliation Connection grants awarded to Indigenous organizations and to scholars to support their leadership in organizing their respective engagement activities and to develop position papers. A total of 116 grants were awarded, with the majority of awards being granted to Indigenous not-for-profit organizations. Position papers were received in February and March 2019. In July 2018, SSHRC hired a director of Indigenous Research to oversee the implementation of the engagement plan and to lead the co-creation of the strategic research plan that will make recommendations for a new Indigenous research and research training model.

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