Toronto Moves to Take Leadership on Truth and Reconciliation

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The City of Toronto Marked COVID-19 Deaths with a memorial

TORONTO – NEWS – Toronto Mayor John Tory states, “The horrific discovery of 215 children buried at the Kamloops residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory is a stark reminder of the profound and lasting impacts of Canada’s residential and day school systems on Indigenous peoples, as well as the need for meaningful action as we work towards truth, justice and reconciliation. Today, the City recommits itself to taking action, holding ourselves accountable, and urges all governments to do the same.”

“These past few weeks have been re-traumatizing for many First Nations, Inuit and Métis as we are all reminded of the devastating legacy of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples. It’s time for government at all levels to move beyond words of condolence and take meaningful action, in partnership with Indigenous communities, towards advancing truth and reconciliation, while working to ensure access to housing, clean water, prosperity and justice for all Indigenous people,” adds Councillor Mike Layton (University-Rosedale), Co-chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee.
Today, Toronto City Council recommitted to advancing the Calls for Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the Calls for Justice from the MMIWG2S Final Report, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Council approved the following four recommendations, put forward in a Member Motion by Councillor Mike Layton (University-Rosedale), Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee (AAAC), and seconded by Mayor John Tory:
1. City Council requests the federal and provincial governments to support Call to Action 82 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and specifically to help provide capital funding to the construction of Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Restoration of Identity Project on Nathan Phillips Square.
Call to Action 82 calls upon provincial and federal governments, in collaboration with survivors and their organizations, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, residential schools monument in each capital city to honour survivors and families.
Toronto is already pursuing this concrete action through the creation of the IRSS Restoration of Identity Project and Spirit Garden at Nathan Phillips Square, in partnership with Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. To-date, City Council has allocated $13 million towards this project. More information on the project and Spirit Garden is on toronto.ca: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-allocates-additional-2-million-to-build-the-spirit-garden-on-nathan-phillips-square/
2. City Council requests the federal and provincial governments to take action now on Calls 71 to 76 of the TRC to address missing children and burial information, including funding and co-ordinating support to locate and protect school burial sites, both known and unknown.
3. City Council calls on the federal government to drop the Federal Court appeals related to compensation for First Nations children separated from their families.
4. City Council requests the Director, Indigenous Affairs Office, in consultation with relevant staff, to report to the AAAC and Executive Committee on what further actions are needed to advance truth, reconciliation and justice, how the City will hold itself accountable to community in advancing these actions, and whether additional resources and funding are required to further the City of Toronto’s work on reconciliation.
The City of Toronto remains committed to advancing truth and reconciliation across all divisions of the Toronto Public Service and the city at large. It is working closely with the Indigenous Affairs Office and Indigenous partners to fulfill its commitments to Indigenous peoples, as well as implement the City’s Eight Priority Calls to Action.