We call upon all levels of government to provide annual reports or any current data requested by the National Council for Reconciliation so that it can report on the progress towards reconciliation. The reports or data would include, but not be limited to:

  • The number of Aboriginal children—including Métis and Inuit children—in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children, the reasons for apprehension, and the total spending on preventive and care services by child-welfare agencies.
  • Comparative funding for the education of First Nations children on and off reserves.
  • Educational and income attainments of Aboriginal peoples in Canada compared with non-Aboriginal people.
  • Progress on closing the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in a number of health indicators such as: infant mortality, maternal health, suicide, mental health, addictions, life expectancy, birth rates, infant and child health issues, chronic diseases, illness and injury incidence, and the availability of appropriate health services.
  • Progress on eliminating the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in youth custody over the next decade.
  • Progress on reducing the rate of criminal victimization of Aboriginal people, including data related to homicide and family violence victimization and other crimes.
  • Progress on reducing overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in justice and correctional systems.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusOct. 4, 2021NOT STARTED
Previous StatusSept. 5, 2021NOT STARTED

Why “Not Started?”

The government response does not directly address this Call to Action. Their response does not identify any specific strategies and actions it will undertake in each of the identified areas in child welfare, education, health and justice. The response instead lists the interim report’s recommended “mandate” for the National Council that the government “will take into consideration.” (C2A # 53 Government Response).

Interim Board appointed on Dec. 14, 2017 delivered their report to Minister Bennett on June, 12, 2018. The process for ongoing reporting from all jurisdictions – federal, provincial, territory – has not been defined nor have any timelines been established for process and protocols.

Significant Deletion on official federal government response

Deleted reference to “legislative requirements necessary for the council to operate and obtain the information necessary to carry out its work”

Reconciliation Barometer

Sept. 28, 2021: Globe and Mail – Later this year, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics hope to clear things up by releasing their first forecast of what reconciliation in Canada is, and where it is headed. The project, called the Reconciliation Barometer, is designed to strip out the rhetoric and place the undertaking of reconciliation under statistical scrutiny. “This barometer will help measure whether or not the social distance that has plagued this country for so long between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is widening or closing, whether or not attitudes are hardening or softening in regards to Indigenous rights and the recognition of Indigenous rights, and how we’re collectively doing,” said Ry Moran, associate librarian at the University of Victoria and a contributor to the project…And running right alongside of that was a very fundamental recognition that data, transparency of data and ongoing measuring and monitoring of our successes and failures would be an absolutely critical component of the work that lay ahead of us.”

Katherine Starzyk, an associate professor of social and personality psychology at the University of Manitoba, lead on the barometer project. Researchers pored over the testimony and conducted a qualitative analysis, coding what was said line by line. They also canvassed leaders in the social justice realm and examined international reconciliation parameters. From that, they came up with 13 broad indicators that they intend to track over time. Those indicators include:

  • awareness of Indigenous history
  • health of relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians
  • level of Indigenous leadership within various sectors of society
  • engagement in Indigenous culture
  • regard for the natural world and
  • issuance of appropriate apologies.

The scores can be broken down for specific sectors, such as criminal justice, education, child welfare and others.

It is so many different things to so many different people,” Dr. Starzyk said. “Some people will identify more with some indicators than others. What I will say is that our items are very valid and reliable. We’ve kind of developed them with excruciating attention to detail.”

The team will provide more findings from their work when it is ready for publication later this fall.

On the Decibel podcast, host Tamara Khandaker spoke with two of the experts behind the Reconciliation Barometer project, Katherine Starzyk and Ry Moran, about its goals and the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

https://thedecibel.simplecast.com/episodes/can-we-measure-reconciliation

Six Principles for a Just Recovery

An informal alliance of over 150 civil society groups, representing collective memberships of millions in Canada, are demanding these plans move us toward a more equitable and sustainable future, with the release, today, of six Principles for a Just Recovery.

Their message for governments: recovery efforts must support the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis, or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of people.

The COVID crisis has revealed the primary importance of the health and safety of all people, as a human rights and collective wellbeing issue. Relief efforts so far have shown that things we’ve been told aren’t possible, actually are once we prioritize them.

The Principles, in brief, ask that recovery plans:

  1. Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.
  2. Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people.
  3. Prioritize the needs of workers and communities.
  4. Build resilience to prevent future crises.
  5. Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders
  6. Uphold Indigenous Rights and Work in Partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

“Indigenous rights and sovereignty must be the foundation upon which every aspect of Just Recovery is built. Throughout the recovery process, Indigenous Peoples must be at the table, as should voices from all structurally oppressed communities,” said Lindsey Bacigal of Indigenous Climate Action. “Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous communities were already in crisis due to a lack of infrastructure, health and social services and the current situation will only deepen these inequalities. To address this historical injustice, it is essential that Indigenous Peoples have access to adequate resources that revitalize the health, well-being and sovereignty of our communities.”

Endorsing groups will pursue specific policy recommendations, aligned with the Principles.

https://justrecoveryforall.ca/ – principles

Six Principles for a Just Recovery

  1. Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.
    • Health is a human right and is interdependent with the health and wellbeing of ecological systems.
    • Recognizing this, ensure that all policies and programs address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health and are responsive to the climate emergency, which is, in itself, a health crisis. Learn from the pandemic: develop policies and make investments that keep communities and workplaces, particularly those on the frontlines, safe. Increase the resilience of our health and social systems – expand and invest in health services, social services and frontline services everywhere. Ensure services are public, culturally safe, linguistically appropriate, and accessible to all without discrimination based on status, location, or circumstance – including to Indigenous peoples living on and off reserve, people in remote communities, migrants, and undocumented people.
  2. Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people
    • Focus relief efforts on people – particularly those who are structurally oppressed by existing systems.
    • Prioritize redistributive policies and social services that meet the immediate and long-term needs of all people and eliminate social, economic, and wealth inequalities. Rebuild a single-tier immigration system with permanent resident status for all.
  3. Prioritize the needs of workers and communities
    • Support must be distributed in a manner consistent with Indigenous sovereignty, a climate resilient economy, and worker rights, including safe and fair labour standards and a right to unionize. Improved conditions for essential service workers must be maintained beyond this crisis.
    • Bailout packages must not encourage unqualified handouts, regulatory rollbacks, or regressive subsidies that enrich shareholders or CEOs, particularly those who take advantage of tax havens. These programs must support a just transition away from fossil fuels that creates decent work and leaves no one behind.
  4. Build resilience to prevent future crises.
    • We cannot recover from the current crisis by entrenching systems that will cause the next crisis.
    • We must invest in sustainable infrastructure and build resiliency within communities, ensuring that people can access public essential services, meet their basic needs, and engage in cultural and artistic expression. Recovery plans should move us toward a diversified economy and systems that reduce social and economic inequity; that respect the limits of the planet; that protect land, water, and air; that uphold human rights and rights of Indigenous peoples; that support people who are not in the workforce to thrive; that create decent jobs; and that foster social, emotional, and cultural health and resiliency from infants to elders.
  5. Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders
    • In a globalized world, what happens to one of us matters to all of us.
    • A Just Recovery must be guided by the principles of equity, solidarity, and sustainability across domestic and international relations. Recovery plans must honour and expand human rights, including the rights of Indigenous peoples, and advance gender equity while opposing authoritarian regimes and oppressive systems. Emergency expenditures and measures must not be used as an excuse to subvert or suspend human rights, to centralize or reduce checks and balances on power, or to revert to austerity, protectionism, xenophobia, racism, ableism or pre-pandemic systems that sustain structural inequalities. Canada has the historical obligation and the resources to ensure that, both domestically and internationally, funding and resources are provided to enable individuals and communities to thrive, engage in democratic institutions, and assert their rights and live with dignity.
  6. Uphold Indigenous Rights and Work in Partnership with Indigenous Peoples
    • A Just Recovery must uphold Indigenous Rights and include the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, in line with the standard of free, prior, and informed consent.
    • Indigenous Peoples require sustained resources and investments that stimulate Indigenous economies, create healthy communities, and protect the lands and waters. Indigenous communities need investment in infrastructure, along with social and health services. In recognizing Indigenous sovereignty, communities must have control over their housing, water, food, and energy. A Just Recovery must include robust renewable energy policy that ensures Indigenous ownership and equitable partnership of renewable energy projects in Indigenous homelands. Indigenous laws, values, customs, and traditions must be recognized and upheld, including the need for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in all jurisdictions.
Colonialism of the Curve: Indigenous Communities and Bad Covid Data: Yellowhead Institute

May 12, 2020 – The following highlights some of the significant barriers to the availability of accurate and reliable Indigenous specific data for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Why the Data Discrepancy?

Publicly accessible data makes it easier for Indigenous people to seek accountability from leaders, and to independently evaluate and measure the efficacy of interventions by all levels of government, including our own Indigenous leadership. In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why we don’t have it.

There is a significant difference in the reported data. According to our research, there are more than triple the cases reported by ISC. How can there be such a discrepancy?

OrganizationReported CasesReported Deaths on Reserve
Indigenous Services Canada1752
Yellowhead Institute4657
COVID-19 Reported Cases and Deaths as of May 10, 2020

NOTE: ISC data only represents BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario  and Quebec and does not include off reserve or the urban Indigenous population (over 50% )

  • First, there is no agency or organization in Canada reliably recording and releasing Covid-19 data that indicates whether or not a person is Indigenous.
  • The public health agencies that report on the number of Covid-19 cases, deaths, recovery, and tests vary in their structure and relationship to local Indigenous people and their communities.
  • And since very few First Nations actually have local control over the delivery of public health, the majority rely on provincial public health services, regardless of whether or not they live on-reserve.
  • Many public services that Indigenous people’s access do not collect disaggregated data that includes racial or ethnic identity of clients, which makes it almost impossible for any racialized community to seek accountability for poorer outcomes or service based on racial discrimination.
  • The jurisdictional fight between provinces and the federal government, where both claim the other is responsible for services, more often than not leaves Indigenous people without any services.

This patchwork of service is a direct result of colonialism. The establishment of provinces and division of powers between provincial and federal government has gradually displaced and disrupted Indigenous governance over time. Canadian federalism was established to serve Canadians and consequently maintains discrimination and sub-standard service delivery in on-reserve communities.

These data issues are not limited to the health sector. The same gaps in data collection exist in child welfare and were a primary reason why the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls were unable to definitively identify the number of Indigenous women who have been murdered or are missing.

Canadian Bar Association

The Canadian Bar Association endorses Call to Action # 55 v, vi and vii

In 2013, the CBA called for an end to the social and systemic normalization of violence against Indigenous women by funding targeted programs and services, a national strategy to address violence against Indigenous women and a national inquiry into the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. We endorse call to action 41, which recommends a public inquiry into the disproportionate number of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada and applaud the current government for beginning that work. As well, we support data collection and annual reporting by government on progress in reducing the rate of criminalization of Indigenous Canadians.

Social and Economic Inequity in Inuit Nunangat

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 advice 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.

In response to Call to Action 55, the interim board suggested that the national council focuses its actions on:

  • researching on reconciliation progress
  • monitoring and overseeing government programs, policies and laws that touch Indigenous peoples and reconciliation
  • reporting to Parliament and the people of Canada on existing, future and generative (decisive, instrumental and enabling) possibilities to advance reconciliation
  • advocating for and educating about reconciliation across all governments and sectors of Canadian society
  • initiating innovative dialogue, thought and action on reconciliation
  • recommending approaches on how to promote, prioritize and co-ordinate reconciliation efforts

Significant Deletion:

  • Deleted reference to “legislative requirements necessary for the council to operate and obtain the information necessary to carry out its work”