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Beyond 94

Beyond 94

Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

Published: March 19, 2018

Last updated: June 25, 2018

About the TRC

The first residential schools opened in Canada in the 1870s. They were the product of churches and the government; a collective, calculated effort to eradicate Indigenous language and culture that the commission called a policy of cultural genocide. 


Canada's cultural genocide of Indigenous Peoples

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed as a means of reckoning with the devastating legacy of forced assimilation and abuse left by the residential school system. From 2008 to 2014, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard stories from thousands of residential school survivors. In June 2015, the commission released a report based on those hearings. From that came the 94 Calls to Action: individual instructions to guide governments, communities and faith groups down the road to reconciliation. 

Beyond 94 will now monitor the progress of that journey.

Measuring progress

In researching the progress of each Call to Action, CBC reached out to relevant governments, faith groups, professional and community organisations for comment. We fact-checked each response with invested stakeholders. We also cross-referenced federal funding announcements with actual and past financial expenditures. We also drew information from past and current CBC stories.

Beyond 94 measures the progress of the Calls to Action based on the following;

"Not started" refers to Calls to Action in which no action plan has been developed and/or no funds have been committed, to implement the Call to Action.

"In Progess — Projects proposed" refers to Calls to Action in which the relevant parties involved have either committed to an action plan or funding, but not yet followed through with it.

"In Progress Projects underway" refers to Calls to Action in which the relevant parties involved are actively working towards implementing that call, with both a timeline and (where needed) the funding to make it happen.

"Complete" refers to Calls to Action which have been fully implemented.

TapClick each flame icon to explore progress made

Last updated: June 25, 2018


    35

    Not started

    31

    In progress - Projects proposed

    18

    In progress - Projects underway

    10

    Complete

    35

    Not started

    31

    In progress - Projects proposed

    18

    In progress - Projects underway

    10

    Complete

Features from the CBC on Child Welfare
  • 1
  • Projects proposed
  • Child Welfare

Reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care

Summary:

As of March 2018, the number of Aboriginal children in care has not been reduced, nor has there been a co-ordinated national assessment of neglect investigations. But the 2018 federal budget did commit to an increase in funding, and in 2018, the federal government created a “six points of action” plan to address the child welfare crisis.

The Call To Action:

We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care by:

i. Monitoring and assessing neglect investigations.

ii. Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.

iii. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools.

iv. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing.

v. Requiring that all child-welfare decisions makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers.

Analysis:

As of March 2018, the number of Aboriginal children in care has not been reduced, nor has there been a co-ordinated national assessment of neglect investigations. But the 2018 federal budget did commit to an increase in funding, and in 2018, the federal government created a “six points of action” plan to address the child welfare crisis.

The 2018 federal budget did commit to an increase in child welfare funding; however much of that money was already earmarked in a prior federal budget, and most of the funding is committed for the years beyond the 2019 federal election.

Regarding co-ordinated national assessments, the most recent assessment of neglect investigations was in 2008. Results specific to First Nations children were published in a 2011 report from the Assembly of First Nations. But there’s not been any since then.

The 2008 study compiled data from 89 provincial, 22 First Nations and Urban Aboriginal and one Métis child welfare site.

At the time, the study concluded that the number of First Nations children who were removed from their homes was four times higher than non-Indigenous children. (140 First Nations children per 1,000, versus 33 non-First Nations children per 1,000).

As of February 2018, a team of researchers from universities across Canada is preparing to launch an updated study of child abuse and neglect-related investigations involving Indigenous children.

The First Nations Incidence Studies, tied to the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, is to be launched in 2019. The team, as of February 2018, is seeking a mix of federal and provincial funding agreements, to finance the study.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal provides up-to-date research on Canada’s Aboriginal child welfare programs and policies, and includes research borne out of the different provinces and territories. But this portal is made up of a consortium of academic researchers and child welfare service providers, through the McGill Centre for Research on Children and Families. It is not a federal or provincial agency.

Regarding providing adequate resources, in the February 2018 federal budget, the government committed to invest $1.4 billion, spread out over six years, for First Nations Child and Family Services.

But much of that money was previously earmarked in the 2016 federal budget, where it committed $635 million, spread out over five years, ending in 2020-21.

Furthermore, most of the funds committed - $1.08 billion - is earmarked for 2019 and beyond, after the next federal election, when a new government might have different priorities.

The commitment came in response to a February 2018 non-compliance order, in which the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the federal government was not adequately funding the agencies.

As a result, the federal government committed to “cover agencies actual costs for prevention, intake and investigation, legal fees, building repairs, among other things.

In January 2018, Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott held an “emergency” meeting with provincial and territorial counterparts, months after the 2016 Statistics Canada Census revealed Aboriginal children account for more than one-half (51.2 per cent) of all children aged four and under, in foster care.

According to an Indigenous Services news release, the two-day meeting, which included national Indigenous, Inuit and Métis leaders, resulted in the commitment of “six points of action”; one of which is to reform child and family services, “including moving to a flexible funding model.”

No time frame was established to implement the six points of action.

While both the Canadian Association of Social Work Education and the Canadian Association of Social Workers officially declared their support for the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action regarding Child Welfare, changes to curriculum and professional training will not be implemented before 2019.

In June 2017, the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Social Work Education released a statement announcing their commitment to consider the Calls to Action when revising their curriculum and standards in 2019.

The CASWE is responsible for reviewing and accrediting Canadian university programs of social work education.

Their “Statement of Complicity and Commitment to Change” includes an acknowledgement of past and present social work practices that “have been and continue to be complicit in our colonial reality.”

The statement includes a commitment to support Canadian schools of social work in revising “curriculum and pedagogy in ways that both advance the TRC recommendations and the overall indigenization of social work education.”

CASWE President Dr. Susan Cadell told CBC News that while all of the 42 accredited schools of social work in Canada include some form of Indigenous history in their curriculum, it’s not always mandatory.

“Schools have to have it, but how schools have it varies widely,” Cadell said. “Some have courses that are optional, some have courses that are required.”

The subject matter also varies from school to school, she said; there’s no requirement to specifically include education about the history and impacts of residential schools.

Cadell says a committee has been created to take into consideration this and other TRC Calls to Action, when conducting their 2019 review of their curriculum and standards.

“[The TRC Calls to Action] are part of what’s informing that process,” Cadell said.

But Cadell warned it might be “unrealistic” to make such courses mandatory, because it might mean, in some cases, having to forfeit a different course more relevant to their area of interest.

As for the training of current social workers, the Canadian Association of Social Workers, which represents more than 17,000 social workers, told CBC News that “reconciliation is a priority."

Jan Christianson is the president of the board. In December 2017, a sub-committee began a two-year review of their national code of ethics and guidelines. Christianson said “reconciliation” is permeating that review and the TRC Calls to Action will inform revisions or changes to both their code of ethics and their practice.

In January 2017, the First Nations University of Canada launched its Certificate of Reconciliation Studies program, available at their three university campuses and online nationally.

The 18-credit program, in response to the TRC Call to Actions, recognizes the “shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and the need to promote healing, equity and respect for/of Indigenous cultures and values,” according to the program description.

The program is specifically intended for those enrolled in social work, education or health. But it is not mandatory.

In 2015, the government of the Northwest Territories expanded its mandatory training for all child protection workers; that training includes Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training and a presentation on the links between the residential school legacy and the child welfare system.

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