Ontario Launches $7.1M Fund to Assist Indigenous Communities in Residential School Investigations

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Minister Rickford

Toronto, ON – Stepping up efforts to assist Indigenous communities, the Ontario government has rolled out the $7.1 million Indian Residential School Community Engagement Fund (IRSCEF). The new initiative seeks to extend its support to additional communities and organizations working with Survivors and their families, who are affected by the ongoing burial investigations at former Residential Schools. The fund will be available for initiatives such as mental health and addictions supports, research, and public education.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, highlighted that the Ontario government is actively listening to Indigenous partners and leadership, who have expressed the need for increased support for the broader network of communities and organizations involved in or affected by the investigations at Indian Residential School sites. The IRSCEF is a direct response to this feedback, aiming to support Indigenous-led and Survivor-centered programs and services that are flexible and cater to the unique needs of Survivors and their families.

Funding Application Window Announced

Applications can be submitted through the Ontario government’s Transfer Payment Ontario website beginning Monday, July 31, 2023 until Tuesday, September 5 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Eligible activities to receive funding include:

The funding covers a range of eligible activities:

  • Community engagement
  • Mental health and addictions support
  • Research activities
  • Public education and awareness
  • Staffing supports
  • Commemoration initiatives

Eligible applicants can secure up to $150,000 for the 2023-24 fiscal year (April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024). The release of funds is expected to commence in Fall 2023.

Those interested in applying for funding can click here for more information.

Boosting Support for Indigenous Communities

The IRSCEF is a part of the $25.1 million allocated in the 2023 Budget to support burial investigations at former Indian Residential Schools (IRS). This sum also includes $10.1 million dedicated to Indigenous communities for planned and ongoing burial investigations, and $15 million to assist Indigenous communities in handling the mental health and addictions impacts related to this challenging work.

Ontario has thus far committed a total of $62.3 million to support IRS burial investigations. As part of its commitment to advancing meaningful reconciliation, the province is also collaborating with Indigenous partners to identify opportunities that amplify Ontarians’ collective awareness and understanding of the legacy left by these institutions.

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