Ontario Continuing Progress on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Province and Indigenous Partners Working Together to Create a Better Future
Ontario is working with Indigenous partners to deliver programs and actions focused on addressing the past and improving outcomes and opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
The province released an update today highlighting Ontario's progress over the past year on implementing The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
The strategy, released last May, invests $250 million over three years to address the lasting impacts of residential schools, close health and educational gaps, remove economic barriers, create a culturally relevant and responsive justice system, support Indigenous culture and reconcile relationships with Indigenous people.
One year later, key achievements include:
- Working with Indigenous partners to increase access to mental health and addictions services, to ensure that Indigenous youth, adults and families can access culturally appropriate treatment closer to home.
- Making the justice system more responsive to the needs of Indigenous people, including: establishing a new Elders Council to provide advice to the Attorney General; helping address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system; funding 30 new Indigenous community-based restorative justice programs; working with Indigenous communities to support 24 projects focused on revitalizing Indigenous legal principles and systems including the establishment of an Indigenous language court; and funding pilot projects related to Band by-law enforcement and Indigenous bail and remand programs.
- Collaborating with education stakeholders and Indigenous partners to host an Indigenous languages symposium at Lakehead University as part of a strategy to support Indigenous culture and revitalize Indigenous languages in Ontario.
- Supporting the restoration of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School to transform it into an interpretation centre where visitors can learn about the experiences of students and the history of residential schools.
The province will continue to work with Indigenous partners to make progress on the commitments in The Journey Together. Improving social, economic and health outcomes for Indigenous people are some of the steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation. They reflect the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
- On May 30, 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne apologized on behalf of the government of Ontario for the abuses committed at residential schools and the harm they caused to Indigenous cultures, communities, families and individuals.
- There were 18 residential schools in Ontario, attended by Indigenous children between the ages of five and 14. The last residential school in Ontario closed in 1991.
- The Mohawk Institute Residential School is one of the oldest residential schools in Canada, in operation from 1828 to 1970.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report included 94 calls to action, urging all levels of government to work together to repair the harm caused by residential schools.
“Ontario is moving forward on our commitment to reconciliation. Working in partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations, we are building new relationships, supporting the revitalization of Indigenous culture and working to remove the barriers that exist for Indigenous people in our province. While we’ve made great progress in the past year, there is still more to do. I look forward to continuing this work with Indigenous partners and this journey we’ve begun together.”
“On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, we welcome the progress report on the Journey Together commitments and look forward to accelerating this collaborative work in the months to come. There are a number of critical areas where we have seen progress such as child care, mental health, and life promotion. These are welcome improvements that resonate with every First Nation community in Ontario. We must pay particular attention to addressing community safety and justice issues. True reconciliation in this Journey Together is ensuring that our children and youth, our women and elders, are safe and secure both in their communities and in every town and city in Ontario.”
Chief Isadore Day
“As Attorney General I am committed to addressing issues facing Indigenous people in all aspects of the justice system – as victims, as accused, and as communities. That’s why our government is taking steps to enhance existing, proven programs that assist Indigenous people, while working with communities to support their efforts to identify, revitalize and reclaim their laws. Together, we are creating a culturally relevant and responsive justice system.”
“Working together with Indigenous communities and organizations, we are building positive, respectful relationships that will lead to meaningful changes in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. Together, we have made significant progress to improve access to culturally appropriate health care services serving the unique needs of Indigenous people in Ontario.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins
“Our government is committed to creating a better future by building relationships based on trust and respect with Indigenous peoples. Ontario’s Culture Strategy envisions an Ontario where every person has the opportunity for creative expression and cultural participation. Supporting Indigenous communities is one of the many steps on our ongoing journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
“Our government is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Ontario. I know that education plays a critical role in charting a new path forward together. That is why our government is working hard to ensure that First Nation, Métis and Inuit students have the opportunities and supports they need to succeed, regardless of where they live in our province.”