Trigger warning: readers may be triggered by the recount of Indian Residential Schools. To access a 24-hour National Crisis Line, call: 1-866-925-4419. Community Assistance Program (CAP) can be accessed for citizens of the Anishinabek Nation: 1-800-663-1142.



It is appreciated that survivors, their families, communities, and Canada as a whole is at various stages in their healing journey to acknowledging and understanding the legacy of the Indian residential school system.

The following historic events and much needed services have facilitated in the healing journey:

  • Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2006.
  • Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools by the Government of Canada in 2008.
  • Establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
  • Development of Commemoration projects and activities.
  • Establishment of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS).
  • Establishment of the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program (IRSRHSP).


On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, on behalf of the Government of Canada, issued a public apology to Indigenous peoples acknowledging Canada’s role in the Indian Residential Schools system.

“ The treatment of children in Indian Residential Schools is a sad chapter in our history.  Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their home, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate into the dominant culture.  These objectives were based on the assumption that Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some saw it, as it was infamously said, ‘to kill the Indian in the child’.   We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children.

You can watch the Apology here

Transcript of the Statement of Apology can be found here



The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is mandated to inform all Canadians about the Indian Residential School (IRS) system.  It is responsible for documenting the truth of Survivors and their families, communities, and others that are personally affected by the Indian Residential School system.

The TRC is further responsible for:

  • Preparing a comprehensive historical record of the policies and operations of the schools and produce a report that will include recommendations to the Government of Canada concerning the Indian Residential School system and its legacy.
  • Hosting seven national events in different regions across Canada to promote awareness and public education about the IRS system and its impacts.
  • Establishing a national research center that will be a permanent resource for all Canadians.
  • Supporting community events designed by individual communities to meet their unique needs.
  • Supporting a Commemoration Initiative that will provide funding for activities that honour and pay tribute in a permanent and lasting manner to former Indian Residential Schools students.

The mandate and activities of the TRC can be accessed HERE



The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) ensures the effective implementation of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) as set out in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

The IAP is an important component of the IRS Settlement Agreement.  It was developed to provide non-adversarial adjudication of claims of sexual, serious physical and psychological abuses, as experienced by the former students of IRS. The IAP process is said to allow former students to settle claims in a claimant-centred and culturally-appropriate manner based on the values of fairness, compassion, commitment, and consistency.  The deadline to submit an IAP application was September 19, 2012.

The IRSAS oversees the paperwork and support work to make the Independent Assessment Process go smoothly. They receive the claims; assesses claims to see if they are eligible for the process; and works with claimants and their lawyers to prepare claims for a hearing.

The Chief Adjudicator of the IRSAS is responsible for the oversight of the functioning of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat.  The team of adjudicators preside over the IAP hearing process and make decisions about the claims, specifically they review documents related to claims; hear the testimony of claimants and witnesses in hearings; render decisions; help parties to talk through a negotiated settlement; and review legal fees to make sure that they are not too high.

As of September 30, 2012, 98% of the estimated 80,000 former students of Indian Residential Schools received CEP payment. The AANDC has received 106,023 CEP applications and of those, only 78,559 applications were eligible under the CEP.  A number of CEP applications continue to be under review.  Further information can be found HERE

As of January 31, 2013, a total of 37,648 IAP applications were received by the IRSAS, of which 19,334 have been resolved.  There are 18,314 IAP applications that remain in progress.  The IRSAS held 16,019 hearings, of which compensation was awarded in the total amount of $1,820B.  The Adjudication Secretariat Statistics from September 19, 2007, to January 31, 2013, can be found HERE



The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program (IRSRHSP) provides safe, confidential, respectful, and non-judgmental mental health and emotional support services to eligible former Indian Residential School students and their families throughout all phases of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, including the Common Experience Payments (CEP), Independent Assessment Process (IAP), Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) events, and Commemorative activities.

Go to their website by clicking HERE

The IRSRHSP has a National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) that provides immediate emotional support for former Indian Residential School students.  Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The services of the IRSRHSP are available to:

  • Former students of Indian Residential Schools: All former students of Indian Residential School, regardless of the individual’s status or place of residence within Canada, who attended an Indian Residential School listed in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement are eligible to receive services from the Resolution Health Support Program.
  • Family members of former students: In recognition of the intergenerational impacts that the Indian Residential Schools had on families, Resolution Health Support Program services are also available to family members of former students of Indian Residential Schools.  Family of former students include their spouse or partner; those raised by or raised in the household of a former Indian Residential School student; and any relation who has experienced effects of intergenerational trauma associated with a family member’s time at an Indian Residential School.

The services of the IRSRHSP include:

  • Cultural Support – Cultural supports are provided by local Indigenous organizations who coordinate the services of Elders and/or traditional healers. Cultural supports seek to assist former students and their families to safely address issues related to Indian Residential Schools as well as the disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. Specific services are chosen by the former student and/or family member and can include traditional healing, ceremonies, teachings and dialogue.
  • Emotional Support – Services are provided by local Indigenous organizations and are designed to help former students and their families safely address issues related to the negative impacts of the Indian Residential Schools as well as the disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. A Resolution Health Support Worker will listen, talk and provide support to former students and their family members through all phases of the Settlement Agreement process.
  • Professional Counselling – Professional counsellors are psychologists and social workers that are registered with Health Canada, for individual or family counselling. A professional counsellor will listen, talk and assist individuals to find ways of healing from Indian Residential School experiences.
  • Transportation – Assistance with transportation may be offered when professional counselling and cultural support services are not locally available.