Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings Revealed

On June 2, 2015, after six years of hearings and testimony, a summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report was released to the public. The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, who provided an emotional update on the TRC’s work at last year’s UBCM Convention, presented the findings, which included 94 broadly based recommendations. Several of these ‘Calls to Action’ were directed toward local governments.

Recommendations for Local Government

While the vast majority of the ‘Calls to Action’ were directed toward the federal government on topics such as education, health, child welfare, language, culture, human rights and reconciliation, there were several that focused on the role local governments can assume in the process to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”. Some of these recommendations include providing cultural competency training; adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation; collaborating with other orders of government to protect, maintain and commemorate residential school cemeteries; and, conducting historic preservation.

The final report, expected to be several thousand pages long, will be released in its entirety in the coming months and will shed further light on the work undertaken by the Commission over the past six years.

Statement of Reconciliation from Canada’s Big City Mayors

On June 1, 2015, in recognition of the TRC’s work, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus released a Statement of Reconciliation. In the Statement, provided by Chair and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the Caucus acknowledged the traumatic impact of Canada’s Indian Residential schools, including the consequences that continue to be felt by Aboriginal people in Canada’s largest cities. The Caucus committed to undertaking a new partnership “based on truth, dignity, and mutual respect”.

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