We call upon the Parliament of Canada, in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to enact legislation to establish a National Council for Reconciliation. The legislation would establish the council as an independent, national, oversight body with membership jointly appointed by the Government of Canada and national Aboriginal organizations, and consisting of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members. Its mandate would include, but not be limited to, the following: 

  1. Monitor, evaluate, and report annually to Parliament and the people of Canada on the Government of Canada’s post-apology progress on reconciliation to ensure that government accountability for reconciling the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown is maintained in the coming years. 
  2. Monitor, evaluate, and report to Parliament and the people of Canada on reconciliation progress across all levels and sectors of Canadian society, including the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. 
  3. Develop and implement a multi-year National Action Plan for Reconciliation, which includes research and policy development, public education programs, and resources. 
  4. Promote public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusAug. 17, 2020IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusJune 15, 2020IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

Interim Board, appointed on Dec. 14, 2017 delivered their final report to Minister Bennett on size, scope, composition and mandate of the council on June 12, 2018. The government “will take into consideration the advice and recommendations provided in the final report during the decision-making process”. No date established for government response to the interim board’s recommendations or timeline for implementation. Budget 2019 allocated a one-time funding commitment of $127M for 2020 – 2021 fiscal year, considerably less than the $1B that the Interim Board recommended.

Timelines for Implementation of National Council of Reconciliation

June 2, 2015 – Release of the TRC Summary Report and 94 Calls to Action. No official response from Stephen Harper’s government who will wait until after the release of the full report in December, after the election

Dec. 15, 2015 – Release of the full report from the TRC. Trudeau government commits to implementation of Calls to Action and UNDRIP as the framework for Nation-to-Nation negotiations

Dec. 15, 2016 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the following three commitments:

  1. Create bilateral mechanisms with Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Inuit Tapirit Kanatami and the four Inuit regions and the Métis National Council and its governing members to develop policy on shared priorities and monitor progress going forward. Also will implement cabinet level meetings twice a year
  2. Establish an Interim Board of Directors to make recommendations on the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation. The Board will begin process to develop recommendations on the scope and mandate of the National Council
  3. Provide $10M to support the work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba (C2A 78)

Dec. 14 2017 – Announcement of the Interim Board of Directors

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, announced the appointment of six members to the Interim Board of Directors for the National Council for Reconciliation. Over the course of the next six months, the Board members will engage with various stakeholders to recommend options for the establishment of the National Council for Reconciliation and the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust. The mandate of the Interim Board of Directors is to advise the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs on options for creating the National Council for Reconciliation, including:

  • alternative models for the establishment of the council
  • defining the scope and scale of the mandate of the council, in order to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action 53 and 54

https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-northern-affairs/news/2017/12/interim_board_ofdirectorsforthenationalcouncilforreconciliation.html

April 24, 2018 – Request for input into the consultative process to establish the over-all scope, responsibilities “On behalf of the members of the Interim Board for the National Council for Reconciliation, I would like to invite you to give us your views on the establishment, scope and mandate of the future National Council for Reconciliation. Your views and opinions will help inform the work of the Interim Board as it prepares to present its recommendation to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

June 12, 2018 – Final report of the Interim Board for the National Council for Reconciliation with detailed recommendations submitted to Carolyn Bennett, Minister Crown – Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

April 11, 2019 – Budget 2019 proposes to provide $126.5 million in 2020–21 to establish a National Council for Reconciliation and endow it with initial operating capital. The Council will involve all Canadians in creating a better understanding of reconciliation, and will serve as a permanent reminder of the importance of reconciliation and the Calls to Action. The Council will engage First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation peoples, as well as non-Indigenous Canadians, in Canada’s reconciliation process, and ensure that the important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission continues.

Final Report of the Interim Board for the National Council for Reconciliation

Recommendations:

  1. Name: Recommendation: That the future board of directors of the NCR undertake a branding exercise, which may include a different name for the NCR.
  2. Vision, Mission and Principles
    • That the vision guiding the NCR be two-fold:
      • be an independent multi-generational institution that would monitor, evaluate and report on reconciliation to all governments and Canadian society
      • be a catalyst for innovative thought, dialogue and action
    • That the future Board of Directors define the mission statement and principles that would govern the NCR
    • That First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation teachings be taken in consideration when developing the principles
  3. Mandate: That the mandate of the NCR be to advance reconciliation efforts through the development and implementation of a multi-year National Action Plan for Reconciliation, including the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The mandate would be advanced by the following actions:
    • Research
      • reconciliation progress across all governments and sectors of Canadian society
    • Monitor and oversee
      • government programs, policies and laws that touch Indigenous peoples
      • reconciliation progress across all governments and sectors of Canadian society
    • Report
      • to Parliament and the people of Canada on existing, future and generative (decisive, instrumental and enabling) possibilities to advance reconciliation and progress across all governments and sectors of Canadian society
    • Advocate and educate
      • for reconciliation across all governments and sectors of Canadian society
    • Initiate
      • innovative dialogue, thought and action on reconciliation
    • Recommend
      • approaches on how to promote, prioritize and co-ordinate reconciliation efforts
  4. Structure: That the structure of the NCR be based on the following elements:
    • Be directed by an experienced, knowledgeable and independent board of directors (see Membership criteria and selection below).
    • Adopt a foundation model (endowment agreement and opportunity to develop other funds).
    • Be established initially through an enabling board.
    • Be based in Ottawa and be a single-site institution
    • Its operations be independent and not managed through a federal secretariat or through shared services with either the Government of Canada or through other organizations.
    • Have a rotation of Elders and/or Wisdom Keepers at the governance level.
    • Be a non-political group with members appointed on the merit of their expertise.
  5. Membership That the board of directors of the NCR:
    • Have no less than 9 members and no more than 13 members
    • Over time, in considering applications, the board make best efforts to ensure its members represent a balance between Indigenous and other Canadians, with Indigenous members holding a majority of the positions on the board. The board also select members to ensure balanced representation from First Nation, Métis Nation and Inuit peoples, urban/remote/rural, gender, youth and the various geographic regions of Canada
    • Have 1 member be nominated by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
    • Have 1 member be nominated by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).
    • Have 1 member be nominated by the Métis National Council (MNC).
    • Have 6 members from the public at large, via an application process and/or through board invitation.
    • Vote on individual nominations that come from the nominating organization (the National Indigenous Organizations and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations). If approved by a 2/3 majority vote, the nomination be accepted.
    • Have members appointed for a 5-year staggered term and serve for a maximum of 2 terms.
    • Have members who demonstrate:
      • knowledge and experience working on Indigenous issues or programs
      • knowledge and experience in specific fields of interest related to the NCR’s mandate
  6. Funding for the National Council
    • Administrative and operational 5-year contribution agreement
      • That the Government of Canada enter into a 5-year contribution agreement at an annual amount that ponders the administration and operational budget requirements as determined by the NCR Board of Director
      • That at the end of 5 years, the annual administration and operational financial contribution will end and the budgetary requirements of the NCR will be met from the net annual returns (less management fees and inflation) of the National Reconciliation Endowment Fun
      • That the NCR will not be restricted from seeking funding from the Government of Canada and other sources.
    • Creation of a National Reconciliation Endowment Fund
      • That a National Reconciliation Endowment Fund in the amount of 1 billion dollars be established that will be paid over 5 years in equal instalment
      • That the NCR establish and manage the fund with the support of professional expertise provided by financial consultants, investment advisors and portfolio manager
      • That the federal government work closely with the NCR to develop an agreement to establish the fund that provides the NCR with the necessary autonomy to achieve its goals of capital protection, income, growth and inflation protection
      • That the NCR have the ability to create a separate fund that will enable individual donors to contribute and receive a charitable receipt
      • That the NCR secure an income tax exemption through a specific tax agreement with the Government of Canada for revenue generated by endowment.
  7. Reporting
    • That a formal reporting mechanism be set out in the legislation, which will ensure that the board of directors submits an annual report to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs on the state of reconciliation in Canada
    • That the Minister table the report in parliament on any of the first 15 days on which the house is sitting after the Minister receives the NCR’s annual report
    • That consistent with Call to Action 56, the Prime Minister formally respond to the NCR’s annual report by issuing an annual “State of Indigenous Peoples” report, which will outline the Government of Canada’s plans for advancing the cause of Reconciliation
  8. Legislation
    • That the NCR be set up through enabling legislation
    • That the transitional committee work with Canada’s legislative drafters, in consultation with the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council, to co-draft the legislation
    • That the legislation be tabled in parliament as soon as possible
Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

In December 2017, the Government of Canada announced the creation of an interim board of Indigenous leaders to provide  advise on options for the creation of the National Council for Reconciliation and define the scope and scale of the mandate of the council.

In June 2018, the Interim Board of Directors presented its final report, which provides advice and recommendations on the National Council for Reconciliation and the related endowment fund.

The Government of Canada is committed to establishing the National Council of Reconciliation and will take into consideration the advice and recommendations provided in the final report during the decision making process.

In addition, Budget 2019 announced $126.5 million in fiscal year 2020 to 2021 to establish a National Council for Reconciliation and endow it with initial operating capital.