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The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

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The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) final report shone a light on Canada's residential school system, a dark chapter in our history with lasting impacts still felt by Indigenous people today. Ontario is working with Indigenous partners to address the legacy of residential schools, close gaps and remove barriers, create a culturally relevant and responsive justice system, support Indigenous culture, and reconcile relationships with Indigenous peoples. True reconciliation goes beyond the TRC's 'Calls to Action'. The Province will continue to look to Indigenous partners for guidance and leadership.

Ontario plans to invest more than $250 million over the next three years on programs and actions focused on reconciliation, which will be developed and evaluated in close partnership with our Indigenous partners.

Understanding the Legacy of Residential Schools 

New Funding: Up to $20 million over three years, including up to $1.4 million in 2016-17 to support the revitalization of the Mohawk Institute Residential School.

  • Work with Indigenous partners to establish a commemorative monument in Toronto -- dedicated to residential school survivors -- as a site of learning, healing and reconciliation.
  • Support restoration of the Mohawk Institute Residential School and work with Indigenous partners to develop an interpretation centre.
  • Identify death records of "lost children" who attended residential schools and contribute to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation archives, locate burial sites and repatriate remains when requested and/or provide memorial ceremonies and markers.
  • Work to waive fees for Indigenous people seeking to reclaim traditional names, and honour Indigenous traditions by accommodating the use of single names.
  • Address systemic racism and discrimination directed against Indigenous peoples through an Indigenous-Informed Anti-Racism Strategy.

 Closing Gaps and Removing Barriers

New Funding: Up to $150 million over three years, including $3.5 million in 2016-17 in life promotion support and $2.3 million in 2016-17 in new mental health and addictions supports.

  • Establish up to six new or expanded Indigenous Mental Health & Addictions Treatment and Healing Centres.
  • Help stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma by investing in mental health and wellness programs.
  • Increase the number of licensed child care spaces and culturally relevant programming off-reserve.
  • Expand child and family programs on-reserve and, through Indigenous and federal partners, make supports available in more communities.
  • Through recreation-based programming, work with remote high-need Indigenous communities to identify community priorities for children, youth and families.
  • Support culturally based suicide prevention strategies for children and youth, and provide crisis intervention, as needed.
  • Explore reclassifying First Nations/federally operated schools to enhance collaboration between the provincially funded education system and First Nation schools.
  • Develop an action plan for responding to social emergencies in Northern First Nation communities.

Creating a Culturally Relevant and Responsive Justice System

New Funding: Up to $45 million over three years, including $200,000 in 2016-17 in Gladue expansion.

  • Create more victim services programs for Indigenous peoples.
  • Establish an Indigenous Language Courts pilot project to help break down language barriers and increase access to justice.
  • Increase funding to Community Justice Programs that focus on healing and cultural restoration.
  • Develop culturally appropriate programs, including community supervision, to provide support to Indigenous people accused of crime.
  • Host a Gladue summit to identify service gaps in the justice system.
  • Increase the number of Gladue report writers and Gladue aftercare workers.
  • Enhance healing services and cultural supports for Indigenous inmates in custody and offenders under community supervision.

Supporting Indigenous Cultural Revitalization

New Funding: Up to $30 million over three years.

  • Develop an Indigenous Cultural Revitalization Fund that would support cultural activities and programming in Indigenous communities, including on-reserve and in urban centres.
  • Host an Indigenous languages symposium with Indigenous partners to review current programs, and to identify community priorities and supports needed for Indigenous languages.
  • Support youth cultural camps in Indigenous communities.
  • Create a traditional medicine garden on government-owned property in Toronto.

 Reconciling Relationships with Indigenous Peoples

New Funding: Up to $5 million over three years.

  • Lead by example and take active steps to apply a model of reconciliation on a daily basis.
  • Change the name of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
  • Reflect the term 'Indigenous' in government ministries and programs, where appropriate.
  • Discourage the use of names that are considered offensive to Indigenous people in organizations funded by the government.
  • Engage with Indigenous partners on approaches to enhance participation in the resource sector by improving the way resource benefits are shared.
  • Work with the federal government to address the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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