The Commitment from the Ontario Provincial Government in Reconciliation
In 2016, Premier Wynne reaffirmed the commitment from the Ontario Provincial Government to continue the journey towards reconciliation that began with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools. To this end, the Provincial Government formulated specific initiatives designed to bring meaningful change to the lives of Indigenous people and communities.
“There is no more denying the past or hiding from the truth. It is time to get to work and do our part to create positive change in the lives of Indigenous peoples.” (Kathleen Wynne – Premier of Ontario, in Government of Ontario, 2016, p. 5)
According to the document “The Journey Together Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation
with Indigenous Peoples” (Government of Ontario, 2016), Ontario has made a commitment to work with Indigenous partners by:
- Understanding the Legacy of Residential Schools — developing a shared understanding of our histories and addressing the overt and systemic racism facing Indigenous people;
- Closing Gaps and Removing Barriers — addressing social and economic challenges faced by Indigenous communities due to colonization and discrimination;
- Creating a Culturally Relevant and Responsive Justice System — improving the justice system by closing service gaps and making available community-led restorative justice programs;
- Supporting Indigenous Culture — by celebrating and promoting Indigenous languages
- and cultures; and
- Reconciling Relationships with Indigenous Peoples — rebuilding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people based on trust, understanding and respect.
(Government of Ontario, 2016, p.13)
A $250 million investment is planned by the Ontario government to support programs and actions focused on reconciliation and will be developed and evaluated in close partnership with Indigenous partners. This financial commitment is viewed as an initial step towards reconciliation. More work is needed to achieve real, measurable change.
- Will the planned investment of $250 million make a difference in terms of reconciliation? Why or why not?
- What other steps need to happen for reconciliation to occur?
Expanding Your Knowledge
- For more information about Ontario’s commitment to reconciliation, you can read the following document:
The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples