The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was developed out of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and began its work in June 2008. The TRC was founded out of the need for indigenous and non-indigenous people to know what happened in Indian Residential Schools and how that legacy still impacts people today. The TRC heard hours of survivor testimonies, held several national events, and gathered documents from church and government agencies responsible for running the institutions.
In December of 2015 the TRC released their final report, as well as several volumes of historical information and survivor reflections. A national research centre was established to offer continued access to Indian Residential Schools history, student records, and survivor testimonies collected by the Commission. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is based out of the University of Manitoba.
The 94 Calls to Action produced by the TRC work in the key areas that hold back reconciliation and continue to oppress indigenous nations. Key areas noted by the commissioners for improvement are: child welfare, education, language and culture, health, and justice. The calls to action, as well as the volumes of reports generated by the TRC, call out specific areas of Canadian society as well as specific institutional mechanisms and ask them to adopt the calls and change the ways they function.
Although much of the investigative work revealed crimes committed against students, the TRC was not a legal entity and their purpose was not to charge or place anyone on trial. Their purpose was to shed light on the truth so that people could work from an informed place towards reconciliation. The Commission had come to a finding of ‘Cultural Genocide’ being committed through the system of residential schools. Cultural Genocide is the forcible removal of culture and traditions from a minority group through legislation, education, and social conditioning. It is also removing the ability of a distinct cultural nation of people from making future contributions to society through that culture and from feeling as though they still have a sense of group identity. As of December 2017, it was reported that only 7 out of the 94 Calls to Action had been completed.