How many of the TRC Calls to Action are complete? Don’t ask the federal government.


The federal government is directly or jointly accountable for 76 of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The official government website “Delivering on Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action provides detailed explanations of actions they are delivering to advance each one. In addition to their perspectives, three other independent organizations also deliver their own perspectives on how the Calls to Action are advancing – or not: CBC’s “Beyond94“, Yellowhead Institute’s Calls to Action Accountability: A 2021 Status Update on Reconciliation” and Indigenous Watchdog – TRC Status Updates – April 4, 2022

The federal government states that they have completed 17 Calls to Action as per the following table vs CBC (8), Yellowhead Institute (8) and Indigenous Watchdog (7) ranking of those same 17 Calls to Action:

Organization# of 94 C2A Completed# of 76 Federal Govt C2A Completed
CBC138
Yellowhead Institute118
Indigenous Watchdog117
Federal Government1717

NOTE: The federal government total is based on their “Second Annual (2021) Statutory Report Pursuant to Section 10 of the Dept. of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Act, Statutes of Canada, Chapter 29, 2019” stated number of 16 completed C2As PLUS C2A # 15 completed on June 19, 2021.

How do the other three “independent” organizations listed above rank those same Calls to Action:

C2A Descriptions of Completed Calls to ActionCBCYellowheadIW
4Enact Indigenous child welfare legislationIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
13Acknowledge Indigenous Rights include Indigenous Language RightsCompleteCompleteComplete
14Enact an Indigenous Languages ActIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
15Appoint an Indigenous Languages CommissionerCompleteCompleteComplete
25Develop written policy affirming independence of Royal Canadian Mounted Police from government in civil litigationIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
41Appoint a national Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsCompleteCompleteIncomplete
43Fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliationIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
67Provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association for a national review of museum policies and best practices IncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
68Establish a reconciliation funding program to commemorate Canada 150 projects on reconciliationIncompleteIncompleteComplete
72Provide sufficient resources to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death RegisterIncompleteCompleteIncomplete
78$10M funding to NCTR + $10M for communities for reconciliationIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
80Establish a statutory holiday, “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”CompleteCompleteComplete
83Establish strategies for Canada Council for the Arts funding for Indigenous reconciliation projectsCompleteCompleteComplete
84Increase funding for the CBC to support reconciliationCompleteIncompleteComplete
87Provide public education to tell national stories of Indigenous athletesIncompleteIncompleteIncomplete
88Ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and support for the North American Indigenous GamesCompleteCompleteIncomplete
C2A # 94Replace the Oath of Citizenship with a new oath with Indigenous contentCompleteCompleteComplete

Based on the above, we can more realistically state that based on the three independent views of the same 17 Calls to Action ranked as complete by the federal government, only 5 are ranked as complete by all four organizations: 13, 15, 80, 83 and 94.

So what about the other 12?

  • 7 are all classed as incomplete by all three independent organizations: (4, 14, 25, 43, 67, 78, 87)
  • 2 are ranked as complete by CBC and Yellowhead Institute and incomplete by Indigenous Watchdog (41, 88)
  • 1 is ranked as complete by CBC and Indigenous Watchdog and incomplete by Yellowhead (84)
  • 1 is ranked as complete by Yellowhead Institute and incomplete by CBC and Indigenous Watchdog (72)
  • 1 is ranked as complete by Indigenous Watchdog and incomplete by CBC and Yellowhead

Why is there unanimity that 7 Calls to Action ranked as complete by the federal government are in fact incomplete:

C2A # 4: Enact Indigenous Child Welfare legislation

CBCBill C-92 doesn’t address all the elements of the call to action, in particular – jurisdiction and funding
YellowheadQuotes extensive critique by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, who initiated the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal discrimination lawsuit in 2006
IWProvides detailed critical reviews of Bill C-92 from a number of Indigenous organizations as well as from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Québec Court of Appeal has also found parts of Bill C-92 unconstitutional: ss. 21 and 22(3), that deal with the right of Aboriginal self-government and the regulation of Child and Family Services

C2A # 14: Enact an Indigenous Languages Act

CBCStates that Bill C-91 doesn’t address all the elements of the call to action, in particular relying on project-specific funding and lack of Inuit support for the Bill
YellowheadIdentifies significant funding shortfalls that fail to protect the diversity of Indigenous languages especially in the north where French speakers (2% of population) receive significantly more funding than Inuktuk speakers (85% of population): $8,200 (french) vs $186 (Inuktuk)
IWInuit Tapariit Kanatami, the national advocacy group for the Inuit, were opposed to Bill C-91 due to the lack of consideration for protection of Inuktuk in Inuit Nunangat where 85% of the population speak Inuktuk. “Current Problems” section identifies a number of issues relating to lack of support for Inuktuk including funding

C2A # 25: Develop written policy affirming independence of Royal Canadian Mounted Police from government in civil litigation

CBCReferences federal government mandate letter rather than a written policy as well as previous policies
YellowheadEmphasis on lack of progress on dismantling structural racism at the heart of the justice system. Crown and Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada spent $58M on legal services fighting Indigenous people in the courts: more than any other legal costs incurred by any federal department other than Canada Revenue Agency
IWIndependence of RCMP is only stated through a “Mandate letter” and not through any official statute or policy other than reference to “pursuant to section 5 of the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act” and an existing protocol “Principals to Implement Legal Advice on the Listing and Inspection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Documents in Civil Litigation”

C2A # 43: Fully adopt and implement United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation

CBCSix provinces officially oppose the legislation, citing concerns that it would impact provincial laws and jurisdiction.
YellowheadEmphasis on UNDRIP as a federal “legislative framework” that does not address “fundamental issues such as restitution of land and redress” or “Free, Prior and Informed Consent”. Also, the focus is extremely narrow with no accountability mechanism and no acknowledgement or acceptance of Indigenous laws and legal traditions
IWUNDRIP has not been “fully adopted and implemented” yet. Provincial governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick oppose Bill C-15. Only BC and the Northwest Territories have made legislative commitments to develop and implement UNDRIP legislation which, similar to Canada, sees UNDRIP under the primary jurisdiction of Canadian law

C2A # 67: Provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association for a national review of museum policies and best practices

CBCFunding was announced in 2019 but the national review of museum policies – not yet delivered – is expected to take two years to deliver its report with recommendations and best practices
YellowheadPoints out that the national review of museum policies and best practices has not been completed yet
IWThe official federal government website “Delivering on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action” in an update on April 1, 2022 states that “The final report and recommendations are expected by March 31, 2022”

C2A # 78: $10M funding to National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation + $10M for communities for reconciliation

CBCThe additional funding of $10M to help communities research and produce their own histories has not been announced
YellowheadNothing specific to this C2A other than acknowledgement that it remains incomplete
IWThere has been no comparable commitment of $10M in additional funding for community initiatives. On August 11, 2021 the federal government allocated $9.6 million over three years to support initiatives that commemorate the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, including events and activities marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CTA # 87: Provide public education to tell national stories of Indigenous athletes

CBCCritics say the segment is incomplete, and does not tell the national stories of Indigenous athletes
Yellowhead“Ultimately, we believe no additional Sports and Reconciliation progress has been made and that 90 remains incomplete”
IWFederal government response focuses on the Tom Longboat Awards launched in 2017 to celebrate the outstanding contributions of Indigenous athletes to sports in Canada. Little detail at provincial, territory or sports organizational level

Based on the above analysis, the federal government ranking of these Calls to Action as complete is questionable to say the least.

What about the other five Calls to Action where there is some disagreement?

C2A # 41: Appoint a national Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

CBCCompleteThe national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released its final report with 231 Calls for Justice at a closing ceremony held June 3, 2019
YellowheadCompleteReferences the findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and their affirmation of the “fundamental, structural changes outlined by the TRC”
IWIncomplete Only when the National Action Plan – widely criticized by many Indigenous leaders – recommendations have been fully acted upon and implemented will this be considered complete. Any inquiry needs active follow-up to monitor and report on progress to ensure ultimate accountability for success

C2A # 68: Establish a reconciliation funding program to commemorate Canada 150 projects on reconciliation

CBCNot StartedA national funding program was created to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. But it was created in May 2015 by the prior federal government, not in collaboration with Indigenous peoples and not exclusively to fund projects on the theme of reconciliation
YellowheadIncompleteNothing specific to this C2A other than acknowledgement that it remains incomplete
IWComplete
(conditional)
The government did not establish dedicated funding for Indigenous groups but allocated a percentage of over-all spending to indigenous projects consisting of:
Signature Projects: $3,603,300 for 5 projects out of 38 (13% of total) including 2 dedicated to Reconciliation
Community Projects: $28.6M for 248 projects out of 636 (39% of total)
The Canada 150 fund of $200M is now officially closed. (July 15, 2018)

C2A # 72: Provide sufficient resources to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register

CBCIncompleteAs of October 2018, the NCTR was planning a series of community visits for residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, families and Indigenous communities to have input into the project’s design
YellowheadCompleteListed as complete with the unveiling of the National Residential School Memorial Register by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
IWIncompleteFederal and provincial governments as well as the Catholic Church have withheld records that are crucial not only to support missing children research, but to fully and truthfully document the residential school system, the children who died in the schools, and the ongoing legacy

C2A # 84: Increase funding for the CBC to support reconciliation

CBCCompleteReviews a number of investments CBC has made in Indigenous programming since 2016 as well as in the CBC Indigenous Unit and Beyond94, its website dedicated to tracking and reporting on all 94 TRC Calls to Action
YellowheadIncomplete2019 report: move to consolidate three CBC North broadcast into one, a 2.6% decrease to CBC in the federal budget and the fact that their is no visible Indigenous leadership at the CBC
IWCompleteIn their 2021 platform, the Liberals have promised to provide the CBC $400 million over four years “so that it is less reliant on private advertising with a goal of eliminating advertising during news and other public affairs shows.”

C2A # 88: Ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and support for the North American Indigenous Games

CBCCompleteIn April 2017, the federal government committed $18.9M over 5 years  and ongoing funding of $5.5 million every four years thereafter, to support culturally relevant sport programming for Indigenous youth and children at the community level. This included stable and ongoing funding for the North American Indigenous Games
YellowheadComplete“Tentatively” complete in the short-term but will be moved back to incomplete “unless significant changes are made at the federal and provincial levels to ensure that NAIG begins to receive the levels of funding necessary to ensure that NAIG are successful, safe and accessible to all Indigenous peoples”
IWIncompleteMinimal commitments for ongoing funding at the provincial/territory level for long-term Indigenous athlete development. Limited provincial commitment for the North American Indigenous Games other than localized ‘Bid” funding

So based on all of the above, how many of the Federal Government Calls to Action are complete based on the federal government view versus that of the three independent organizations?

Organization views on completed Calls to ActionTotal Calls to Action% completion
Federal Government’s own view1722.4%
Consensus view where all four organizations agree (Minimum)56.6%
Consensus view where 3 of 4 organizations agree (Maximum)810.5%

A more realistic view than the federal government’s 22.4% view is either the minimum view (6.6%) or maximum view (10.5%).

In addition to the above 17 Calls to Action, CBC and Indigenous Watchdog also have differing views as to which other federal Calls to Action are complete. In fact, CBC ranks two additional Calls to Action where the federal government is accountable as complete (39 and 70) and Indigenous Watchdog one Call to Action (70) beyond the above 8.

Call to Action # 39: Develop a national plan to publish data on Indigenous criminal victimization

CBCCompleteStatistics Canada’s annual homicide report now includes analysis of homicides of Indigenous women and girls ​
YellowheadIncompleteNothing specific to this C2A other than acknowledgement that it remains incomplete
IWIncompleteThe federal government is working with their provincial and territory partners to develop a comprehensive national Indigenous victimization data strategy  

Call to Action # 70: Provide funding for national review of archival policies and best practices

CBCCompleteA Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives was completed in 2020, following a task force’s review of archival policies
YellowheadIncompleteNothing specific to this C2A other than acknowledgement that it remains incomplete
IWCompleteThe Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives released the Reconciliation Framework: The Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce on Feb. 24, 2022

Other Stakeholder Calls to Action

Aside from the federal government, there are an additional 18 Calls to Action where other stakeholders are accountable:

  • C2A # 16: Post-secondary institutions
  • C2A # 48: Catholic, United, Anglican and Presbyterian Churches, Faith Groups, Interfaith Social Justice groups
  • C2A # 49: All religious denominations and Faith groups
  • C2A # 59: Catholic, United, Anglican and Presbyterian Churches
  • C2A # 85: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

For those 18 Calls to Action that are not the responsibility of the federal government the ones ranked as complete are as follows:

C2ADescriptions of Completed Calls to ActionCBCYellowheadIW
16Create Post-secondary degree and diploma programs in Indigenous LanguagesCompleteIncompleteIncomplete
48Adopt and comply with principles, norms and standards of UNDRIPIncompleteCompleteIncomplete
49Repudiate Doctrine of Discovery and terra nulliusIncompleteCompleteComplete
59Develop ongoing education strategies to teach church role in colonizationCompleteIncompleteComplete
85Aboriginal Peoples TV Network to continue supporting reconciliationCompleteCompleteComplete

Each of CBC, Yellowhead and Indigenous Watchdog rank three of these Calls to Action as COMPLETE. Using the same “consensus ” metric as for the previous Federal Government Calls to Action also results in 3 Calls to Action as being COMPLETE.

Howe many of the 94 Calls to Action in total are ranked as COMPLETE?

Consensus view of Completed Calls to ActionTotal Calls to Action Completed% completion
Consensus view where all four organizations agree55.3%
Consensus view where 3 of 4 organizations agree (including C2A # 41, 70, 80, 84)1212.8%

After almost seven years since the June 1015 release of the Summary Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we still have a very long way to go.

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