We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills- based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism. 

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusJan. 10, 2022IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusDec. 5, 2021IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

The Federal Government has introduced the non-mandatory “Indigenous Learning Series” for all public service employees although not all the course content aligns with the specific “Actions” identified in C2A # 57. Provinces, Territories and Municipalities are at different degrees of commitment and implementation.

Government Commitments to Professional Development and Training

Federal Government

Nov. 23, 2016 – One day workshop “Reconciliation Begins With me” is Intended for all public servants who want to increase their knowledge about Indigenous Peoples and issues and who want to understand how they can contribute personally and professionally to renewing relationships. In a supportive setting, you will be introduced to the rich diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and communities in your region and across Canada;

  1. gain essential knowledge regarding the history of Indigenous–settler relationships and the human, social and economic effects of past government policies and practices;
  2. learn about key events, decisions and actions that are relevant to government responsibilities towards Indigenous Peoples and that set the stage for future relationships; and
  3. gain personal and professional insight into how you can contribute to positive change.

This workshop is the result of collaboration between the Canada School of Public Service and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #57

Jan. 31, 2017 – The Public Service Commission has signed a 5-year contract with Aboriginal Consulting Services to confirm content and pricing for Aboriginal Awareness training through Jan 31, 2022 at which time it is intended that all public servants will have attended the training.

June 13, 2018 – Indigenous Learning Series will offer opportunities to learn and build knowledge and understanding of Canada’s shared history and how it impacts us today. GCcampus, the School’s online learning platform, is a growing collection of resources to increase cultural competency and awareness about First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada and the Government of Canada’s roles and responsibilities.

Under the themes of recognition, respect, relationships and reconciliation, the Indigenous Learning Series will provide access to resources, courses, workshops and events that share the history, heritage, cultures, rights and perspectives of Indigenous peoples in Canada and their relationship with the Crown. At every level of the public service, the insights gained through this Series will support working effectively with diverse Indigenous populations and developing federal policies and programs to meet the unique needs and realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

British Columbia

May 22, 2018 – The Government of BC has underscored its commitment to work with Indigenous peoples in the spirit of respect and collaboration by introducing a set of draft principles designed to guide the daily work of provincial government employees. The province of British Columbia:

  • recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self- determination, including the inherent right of self-government.
  • recognizes that reconciliation is a fundamental purpose of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • recognizes that the honour of the Crown guides the conduct of the Crown in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples.
  • recognizes that Indigenous self-government is part of Canada’s evolving system of cooperative federalism and distinct orders of government.
  • recognizes that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.
  • recognizes that meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples aims to secure their free, prior and informed consent when B.C. proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources.
  • recognizes that respecting and implementing rights is essential and that any infringement of section 35 rights must by law meet a high threshold of justification which includes Indigenous perspectives and satisfies the Crown’s fiduciary obligations.
  • recognizes that reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with the federal government and Indigenous nations that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.
  • recognizes that reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Crown-Indigenous relationships.
  • recognizes that a distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in B.C. are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented

June 5, 2019 – The First Nations Public Service Secretariat (FNPSS) and the First Nations Summit (FNS) were pleased today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the British Columbia Federal Council (BCFC). The MOU strengthens First Nations and Federal public service institutions by facilitating the mutual exchange of expertise and experience. The MOU formalizes the relationship between the federal government in BC and the FNPSS and assists the ongoing commitment to support BC First Nation administrations achieve excellence in governance. In addition to the Chair of the BCFC, regional heads from seventeen federal departments have signed onto the MOU to indicate their commitment to support federal and First Nations public service development and capacity building in BC


March, 2016 – Cabinet approved widespread, mandatory training for all civil servants..

Sept 28, 2017 – The Alberta government is planning to roll out mandatory training for public servants next year, focusing on Indigenous history, treaties and the legacy of residential schools. This is a follow-up to Premier Rachel Notley’s commitment in July 2015 to implement the goals of UNDRIP.

June 18, 2018 – All current Alberta Public Service employees will participate in an in-person, one-day course over the next three years. The session will involve experiential learning with Elders through sharing circles, and participants will learn about Indigenous histories, residential schools, treaties and contemporary issues, and how they can apply what they learn to their work. Moving forward, the introductory training will be part of their job orientation for new public service staff.


Dec. 15, 2015 – The Ministry of Advanced Education has purchased a two-year license to deliver the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, an online multi-media course which will be made available to all Ministry employees. The 4 Seasons of Reconciliation was produced by Cazabon Productions under the guidance of the First Nations University of Canada’s Indigenous Advisory Circle and features Indigenous contributors throughout the education units. Subject areas include:

  • Indigenous perspectives on colonialism, 
  • pre-contact history, Treaties, 
  • residential schools, 
  • the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 
  • Indigenous relations, 
  • reconciliation, and 
  • restitution. 

The online course includes PowerPoint presentations, videos, films, quizzes and a completion certificate. Advanced Education’s sector partners, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Regina, are also providing this resource to their staff and students.

Dec. 17, 2018 – A University of Regina working group designed to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action has released its guide to implementing those calls within each faculty, unit or division  starting with Call to Action # 57 that calls on all levels of government to provide education to public servants about the history of Indigenous people, including the legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous laws and Indigenous – Crown relations.


Dec. 21, 2020 – Invested over $110,000 to train public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples including developing a professional workshop ‘The Path to Reconciliation: A Historic and Contemporary Overview’; Development of a new employee professional development course ‘The Path to Reconciliation: A Historic and Contemporary Overview’. This workshop is delivered by Indigenous employees to increase awareness of public servants about: the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada; a deeper understanding about the direct and intergenerational effects of colonization and residential schools on Indigenous peoples; and knowledge about effective and respectful communication practices and working relationships with Indigenous peoples in Manitoba. This year 62 government employees from various departments participated.


Feb 16, 2016 – Ontario is introducing mandatory indigenous cultural sensitivity and anti-racism training for all public service employees in response to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The training is designed to help develop policies and programs to redress the legacy of residential schools, advance reconciliation with indigenous communities and make a real difference in the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people.

May 30, 2016 – “The Journey Together- Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples” Developing programs so that all Ontario Public Service employees receive mandatory cultural competency training on Indigenous cultures, worldviews, issues and history, including treaties and residential schoolsDeveloping programs so that all Ontario Public Service employees receive mandatory cultural competency training on Indigenous cultures, worldviews, issues and history, including treaties and residential schools.

New Brunswick

May 29, 2018 – Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) is a leading Indigenous organization dedicated to supporting Indigenous participation in New Brunswick’s economy who released its Report on Reconciliation, a compilation of the findings from JEDI’s December 2017 plenary entitled: “Moving Forward Together Through Reconciliation”. The plenary sought to answer the question “How do we apply the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in New Brunswick’s public and private sectors?” Continuous education, at all levels, is key to building a shared understanding of the history of Indigenous peoples in New Brunswick was the main point that all of the participants agreed upon.  This shared understanding will enable all sectors to work with First Nation communities to build welcoming workplaces, implement Indigenous hiring policies, and build the capacity of the Indigenous workforce.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

The Canada School of Public Service is a common learning service provider for the federal public service. In response to Call to Action 57, the school continues to develop the Indigenous Learning Series intended for all public service employees, Indigenous employees, leaders and functional specialists.

The series aims to increase cultural competency and awareness within the public service about First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada and the Government of Canada’s roles and responsibilities. It focuses on the rights, perspectives, cultures, history and heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada and their relationship with the Crown.

The insights gained through this series will support public service employees in working effectively with diverse Indigenous populations and in developing federal policies and programs that meet the unique needs and realities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.

Since 2016, the school has been delivering learning events such as armchair discussions and workshops as part of the series. The school also continues to update course material and integrate Indigenous content into courses and programs for leaders and functional specialists.

Since 2017, the Government of Canada has:

  • conducted internal and external engagement sessions to seek input from Indigenous communities and academics in addition to public service partners: completed in October 2017
  • launched online content, including 5 foundational online courses ,videos, podcasts, a historical timeline, a guide on cultural protocol, through GCcampus, the online learning portal for Government of Canada employees
  • launched 3 classroom courses across Canada of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, Reconciliation Begins with Me, and the Leadership and Indigenous Affairs course
  • established a Circle of Elders and Elders in Residence initiative to support content development, delivery of courses as well as support for school employees
  • organized regional and national learning events
  • established a governance structure to ensure content is truth-based and reflective of Indigenous perspectives
  • worked collaboratively with internal and external partners to advance the Call to Action 57

Upcoming initiatives include:

  • the launch of the Leadership and Indigenous Affairs course
  • the launch of a classroom course on cultural competency and modern treaty implementation, in partnership with Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
  • the development of a learning roadmap or passport for Indigenous employees
  • the development of Indigenous training offered in all departments
  • additional training sessions for facilitators and increased  number of classroom offerings across the country
  • additional online learning products, including videos and job aids
  • continuing to integrate Indigenous learning content within functional specialists and learning development programs
  • learning solutions and support for Indigenous employees
  • enhanced engagement with external partners such as provinces and territories and Indigenous communities and representatives to leverage and share existing materials.