Advancing Reconciliation by Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools

News release

OTTAWA, August 30, 2019

The Government of Canada is investing in five initiatives that aim to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. In the spirit of Call to Action 80, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, unveiled five projects today that will raise awareness and commemorate the legacy and hardship of residential schools.

The Government of Canada is investing $2,604,115 over two years through Canadian Heritage’s Celebration and Commemoration Program. Projects were presented by Historica Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society in partnership with the Orange Shirt Society.

APTN will host a Day for Truth and Reconciliation Commemorative Concert that will honour survivors of residential schools, their families and communities, in keeping with the spirit of Call to Action 80. The event will feature ceremonies with elders, survivors and special guests, and will include cultural and musical performances. The televised concert will be take place on September 30, 2019. APTN will also feature an awareness campaign on social media platforms and television, which will include vignettes, public service announcements, testimonies and special programming. These two projects received $950,000 in support over two years.

Historica Canada will launch a residential schools awareness campaign that will allow communities to recognize and remember the legacy of residential schools with videos, a bilingual podcast series and articles exploring the history and continued legacy of the residential schools. This project received $254,115 in funding.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will hold a conference that will focus on Indigenous community-based initiatives surrounding residential school sites and cemeteries. The event aims to gather residential school survivors and encourage dialogue, learning and networking among groups who are doing similar work in their respective communities. This project received $100,000 in support.

The Royal Canadian Geographic Society and the Orange Shirt Society are collaborating to build a multi-platform educational program on the subject of residential schools and reconciliation. The program will focus on Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor, author of the Orange Shirt Story and founder of Orange Shirt Day. The program will include a national tour of schools, teaching resources, a documentary, maps and feature articles. This project received $1.3 million in funding over two years.

The Celebration and Commemoration Program supports activities that enhance the knowledge and understanding of Canada’s history and heritage, and provides opportunities for Canadians to take part in commemorative activities and celebrations of national significance.

Budget 2019 provided $7 million over two years, starting in 2019–2020, to commemorate the legacy of residential schools.


“The history of Indigenous Peoples and the wrongs committed against them by Canada still remains unknown to most non-Indigenous Canadians. Once everyone in this country has a better understanding of our shared history with Indigenous Peoples, we can move forward together in a partnership based on the recognition of rights, respect and cooperation.

“Each of these projects were selected because we believe they truly reflect the spirit of Call to Action 80. Let us remember, and reflect on those who were lost, and honour those that have survived the legacy of residential schools and other abuses committed against Indigenous People in Canada.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Associated links


Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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