Truth and Reconciliation Project

blanket-ceremonyThe CRD Board has directed its First Nations Relations Division (FNRD) to undertake cultural education of the CRD workforce and develop a comprehensive corporate response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) Calls to Action. The FNRD will deliver cultural training in order to give staff a deeper understanding of the history of colonization in Canada that leads us to the climate of reconciliation being called for today. The training allows non-indigenous staff to walk through the past 500 years of factual history in Canada so that they can better understand the perspectives of Indigenous people today.

The CRD operates within the traditional territories of Coast and Strait Salish and Nuu-chah-nuth peoples; and the CRD Board is committed to respectfully and appropriately engaging those First Nations' communities in regional strategies, decision-making and shared interests. We want to send a clear signal to neighbouring First Nations governments that we are serious about our commitment to working together. For this reason we are developing a genuine response to the TRC Calls to Action. Cultural Training is one of those responses. We will also examine our work plans with a reconciliation lens to identify areas for change and actions for consideration. An organization wide response to the TRC Calls to Action will be prepared for approval by the Board.

What is the Truth & Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action?

The TRC was a national investigation into a Canadian government policy that, for over 125 years, removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families and sent them to residential schools where traumatic experiences of abuse and forced assimilation were the norm rather than the exception. The policy stemmed from a mindset that viewed Indigenous culture and ways of knowing as inferior to European civilization. In 2015, after years of collecting stories from survivors and those affected by the legacy, the TRC completed its final report, issuing 94 calls to action aimed at all sectors of Canadian society.

Of the 94 calls to action identified in the report, there are 5 actions that call specifically to municipal (local /regional) government. When taking into consideration the wide scope of services the CRD offers, many of the 94 calls to action are within the ability of the CRD to act.

B.C.'s Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Act

The provincial government passed the legislation in November 2019 to implement the UN Declaration, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirms as the framework for reconciliation. The B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act aims to create a path forward that respects the human rights of Indigenous peoples while introducing better transparency and predictability in the work they do together.

The Province worked with the First Nations Leadership Council (BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs), who have been directed by First Nations Chiefs of B.C., to develop the legislation. The legislation sets out a process to align B.C.’s laws with the UN Declaration. It mandates the government to bring provincial laws into harmony with the UN Declaration. It requires development of an action plan to achieve this alignment over time – providing transparency and accountability. And it requires regular reporting to the Legislature to monitor progress. In addition, the legislation allows for flexibility for the Province to enter into agreements with a broader range of Indigenous governments. And it provides a framework for decision-making between Indigenous governments and the Province on matters that impact their citizens.

The B.C. provincial government has just completed their plan which can be found here: