Letter to Editor re: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

News Reported on June 5, 2015

On June 4-5, 2015, the following letter was sent to 20 newspapers across Ontario: 

"The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) wishes to acknowledge and commend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on the release of its historic summary report, the culmination of the 5-year enquiry looking into the truth of what happened inside Canada's residential schools. 

Recommendations in the summary report provide an invaluable framework for the Government of Canada to take action to address the lasting and damaging impact of native policies which led to 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children being taken from their parents and placed in residential schools where many experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse.  

Key among the 94 recommendations in the report is a call for the Federal Government to fully implement the UN Declaration of the Rights on Indigenous People; create a national day of reconciliation to reaffirm and to restore a commitment to the nation-to-nation relationship; and inclusion of this dark chapter in our national history in the education curriculum in every province. Furthermore, the recommendations highlight the vital need for equitable funding for people living on reserves targeting preventable factors such as poverty, inadequate housing and substance abuse that currently have a profound and devastating impact on the health and well-being on these communities. Equitable funding is essential to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care and to set national standards for those in care, as well as to close the gap in health care outcomes between Aboriginal Peoples and other Canadians. Moreover, the Federal Government should work with Aboriginal organizations to call for a public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and work to eliminate the overpopulation of Aboriginal people in custody. 

Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, is correct in stating that words are no longer enough and that the Government of Canada must take steps to break from past injustice and start the journey to national reconciliation." 

Please let OASW know if the letter appears in your local paper. To learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, click TRC.