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e-3829 (Indigenous affairs)

Initiated by Zoe Andres from Kitchener, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Canada has committed harm toward Indigenous people and communities through historical and ongoing genocide;
  • Canadian governments have acted on only 8 of the 94 calls to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC);
  • Call to action 18 asks to acknowledge that the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools, and to recognize and implement the health-care rights of Aboriginal people as identified in international law, constitutional law, and under the Treaties;
  • Call to action 19 mentions the need to establish, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, publish annual progress reports, and assess long-term trends;
  • Such efforts would focus on indicators listed in the TRC;
  • Call to action 20 aims to address the jurisdictional disputes concerning Aboriginal people who do not reside on reserves, recognizing, respecting, and addressing the distinct health needs of the Métis, Inuit, and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples;
  • Call to action 21 recommends to provide sustainable funding for existing and new Aboriginal healing centres to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harms caused by residential schools, ensuring priority funding for healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories; and
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened healthcare discrepancies between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to place implementation of all 94 TRC calls to action at the forefront of the political agenda, starting with calls to action 18 through 21.

Response by the Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Vance Badawey

The Government of Canada is committed to advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action is a vital part of this commitment. While there is still much work to be done to respond fully to the Calls to Action referenced through this Petition, here is a summary of recent progress Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has made:

CTA #18 – ISC with the support of Health Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, has led three National Dialogues on addressing anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health systems. These National Dialogues and further engagement with partners has provided an opportunity for the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, National Indigenous Organization representatives, Indigenous health professionals, and health system partners to discuss the history and current state of Indigenous health and pursue collective actions to address anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health systems. In response to the recommendations from the National Dialogues and other key reports, the Government of Canada invested $126.7 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to address anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health systems. Funding supports a range of initiatives aimed at improving access to culturally safe services, adapting health systems, supporting the integration of cultural and patient safety, and enhancing accountability. ISC, along with health system partners, is currently developing a longer-term national approach to anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health systems. In addition, ISC is leading the co-development of distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation, which is a collaborative approach that recognizes the right to self-determination. Engagement on the co-development of distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation is being led primarily by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation partners at the national, regional and sub-regional levels. ISC is also hosting engagement sessions, including targeted outreach to Indigenous women's organizations, urban Indigenous, 2SLGBTQQIA+, youth organizations and more.

CTA #19 - ISC and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have initiated work with Indigenous organizations including the First Nations Information Governance Centre and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). These organizations, together with their regions, are currently exploring the development of an information strategy, as well as a set of indicators that will identify gaps in health outcomes and that can be routinely reported. An online Health Inequalities Data Tool has been released that explores data using different measures of inequality by topic and population of interest. In addition, Budget 2021 provided $597.6 million over 3 years, starting in 2021 to 2022, for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation. The strategy will renew funding for the Indian Residential Schools Health Supports Program and Crisis Line, which provide healing supports for survivors of childhood trauma and residential schools. It will also enhance community-based supports and capacity, increase substance use treatment and prevention, and support workforce development. 

CTA #20 - ISC plays a key role in addressing the distinct health needs of Indigenous Peoples, including by working with Indigenous communities to address COVID-19 public health needs and support public health response. First Nations communities and organizations are eligible for funding to support community-led pandemic responses, to increase primary health care, and surge capacity. Specific to First Nations and Inuit children, over 3,500 requests for items and products, services and supports related to COVID-19 were approved for a total of $9.5 million under Jordan’s Principle between March 20, 2020 and May 2021. For the Inuit Child First Initiative, over 140 requests for items and products, services and supports related to COVID-19 were approved for approximately $685,000. To ensure the appropriate funding is coordinated and targeted to address pandemic-related public health gaps and needs in Indigenous communities and Indigenous populations, ISC continues to work with federal (PHAC), national (e.g. Assembly of First Nations and ITK) and regional Indigenous partners, as well as provinces and territories to support COVID-19 public health measures for Indigenous communities and groups.

CTA #21 - In collaboration with the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, ISC has provided funding to support the construction and operation of the Nunavut Recovery Centre. ISC continues to support the Government of the Northwest Territories and Indigenous organizations in initiatives and programming that address healing and trauma caused by residential schools. Since 2018-2019, ISC has invested $6.5 million into the construction of a new healing center in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. The new Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Center will provide culturally appropriate addiction treatment services, including services for families in the healing process to lessen the impact of substance abuse on couples, pregnant women, and families with children. Due to the pandemic, construction has been delayed but the opening is still scheduled for 2022 or 2023.

Open for signature
February 7, 2022, at 4:37 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 8, 2022, at 4:37 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre)
May 9, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00413)
Government response tabled
June 17, 2022
Photo - Mike Morrice
Kitchener Centre
Green Party Caucus