THUNDER BAY – The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement following the release of the Coroners’ Inquest Jury Recommendations in the matter of seven Indigenous students in Thunder Bay:
“The Government of Canada welcomes the Ontario Coroner’s Inquest recommendations released today. This report shines a light on a terrible and preventable tragedy. We thank the Chief Coroner and all those involved for the hard work and important report. We understand and agree that there are large and systemic issues at play, which led to these tragic losses of life. Our collective task is to ensure this does not happen again. It is critical that we move forward together to create a safe and secure education environment that all Canadians expect.
Working in full partnership with Indigenous communities, based on recognition of rights, respect, trust and cooperation, we will identify recommendations we can move on immediately, and where we can collaborate on longer term solutions.
We believe our historic investment of $8.4 billion in the last budget which allows for specific investments in education, training, infrastructure and safe housing, amongst others, will go a long way towards addressing the longstanding unacceptable inequities that exist and help improve the quality of life of Indigenous people. We acknowledge there is more to be done, and we are fully committed to taking action.
It is our hope that the end of the Inquest will help bring closure for the families and communities, who suffered such tragic losses, and that the recommendations from the Inquest and other actions, such as our commitment to implement the TRC’s Calls to Action, will help prevent the occurrence of similar tragedies in the future.”