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Moving Forward with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is an independent body that was established to provide former students of Indian residential schools and anyone affected by the legacy of those schools with an opportunity to share their individual experiences in a safe and culturally-appropriate manner.

The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild were appointed as TRC Commissioners in June 2009. Over the next six years, gatherings and hearings took place across the country with residential school survivors.

In December 2015, the TRC released its Final Report, titled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. The TRC also developed a summary of its key recommendations as part of its six-volume report. (All these documents and others are available from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.)

On June 5, 2015 the Government of Saskatchewan issued a statement following the release of an earlier summary final report from the TRC. Since the statement’s release, the government has had initial discussions with First Nations leaders on the TRC report and how we can move forward together.


1. Ongoing Work with First Nations and Métis People

Some of the Government of Saskatchewan’s strategies that are already well underway include the Child Welfare Transformation Strategy, Disability Strategy, Education Sector Strategic Plan, and actions on violence prevention.


2. First Nations and Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth

Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth, along with several other interministry strategies, aligns with many of the TRC’s Calls to Action outlined in the report, including plans to:

  • Sustain growth and opportunities for Saskatchewan people – through initiatives that will improve education and employment outcomes, as well as those that engage First Nations and Métis people in economic development; and
  • Meet the challenges of growth – by increasing the number of child care spaces and increasing the number of First Nations and Métis people in our workforce.

The Plan for Growth also focuses on securing a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people. Work flowing out of the plan includes:

  • Improving K-12 and post-secondary education results for First Nations and Métis people;
  • Supporting the healthy growth and development of children; 
  • Supporting strong families and communities where children can grow and thrive;
  • Transforming child welfare;
  • Developing restorative and culturally-responsive justice approaches; and
  • Enhancing community safety planning.

3. Interministry Strategies and the TRC

The following list highlights the work that the Government of Saskatchewan – along with its ministries, Crown corporations and agencies – is doing which aligns with the TRC’s recommendations:

  1. Joint Task Force (JTF) on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Métis People

    • The government has made good progress in addressing the JTF’s recommendations; many of those recommendations are echoed in the work of the TRC.

  2. Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy

    • The government appointed a joint citizen/government advisory group to provide recommendations on elements for a provincial poverty reduction strategy. 
    • The advisory group heard from a wide range of community stakeholders, including persons from First Nations and Métis organizations.
    • The advisory group’s recommendations include the principle of respecting the dignity of First Nations and Métis people, which also includes addressing the consequences of colonialism, residential schools and ongoing racism.
    • The recommendations also include enhancing early childhood services and educational and employment outcomes for First Nations and Métis people.
    • The government is in the process of developing the strategy.

  3. Saskatchewan Disability Strategy

    • A key recommendation in the Disability Strategy is to ensure that First Nations, Métis and Inuit people experiencing disability are well-supported regardless of their home communities.
    • Responding to this recommendation will require discussion with the federal government and First Nations.

  4. Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan

    • The Ministry of Health is leading the development of cross-ministry implementation of the 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.
    • Addressing mental health and addictions issues is complex, and takes the efforts of several ministries and organizations working together to ensure improved responses for citizens with mental health and addictions issues.
    • The government is working to improve co-ordination and access to services for our province’s most vulnerable populations. This work includes
      • Moving toward more seamless transitions for clients with mental health and addictions issues who are receiving services from multiple ministries; and
      • Reducing wait-times for outpatient mental health and addiction services and psychiatry.
    • One of the plan’s key recommendations is to partner with First Nations and Métis people in the planning and delivery of mental health and addictions services, to better meet community needs
    • This is one of 10 recommendations that have been prioritized to take place over the next four years.

  5. Child Welfare Transformation Strategy

    • The Child Welfare Transformation Strategy has three themes:
      • Work differently with First Nations and Métis people
      • Increase prevention and support for families; and
      • Renew the child welfare system.
    • The Ministry of Social Services is committed to working differently with First Nations and Métis people to provide the best possible child welfare services and outcomes for children and families.
    • First Nations and Métis people have been engaged in the strategy and will continue to be engaged as the child welfare system is transformed and continually improved.
    • The focus of Saskatchewan’s current practice is to strengthen the family home to support children to remain safely at home and/or to safely return home from being “in care” with the ministry.
    • A review of child welfare legislation has taken place with new legislation anticipated in 2017.

The Government of Saskatchewan would like to thank Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild for the work they have done over the past six years to develop the final report.

The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to work with leadership and stakeholders to sustain growth and opportunities for all First Nations and Métis people – through initiatives that will improve education and employment outcomes.

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