Update on Mental Wellness Supports for those impacted by MMIWG and the Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreement

News release

July 7, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the lasting impact of colonial policies and persistent discrimination on the lives of many First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, their families and communities. Many have to carry the burden of trauma through their lives, and access to community-based, culturally-safe mental health services is essential in supporting and providing a path towards healing for those who had their lives forever changed.

It is important to ensure there is ongoing, immediate support for community-based cultural and emotional support services as well as access to mental health counselling. This is especially critical for those impacted by Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and the Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreement and their families; the Government of Canada is announcing an immediate total investment of $17.1 million for access to important mental wellness counselling.

In response to the MMIWG Interim Report, since June 2018 Indigenous Services Canada has supported access to cultural, emotional, and mental health support services. Today’s announcement includes $6.4 million to ensure that access to these important mental wellness services continue.

Overall, these supports will help reduce and address the mental and emotional stress associated with recounting experiences of trauma or other triggering experiences. It also acknowledges and supports the MMIWG Final Report and its Calls to Justice.

Today’s announcement also includes $10.6 million dollars to expand access for the first time to cultural, emotional, and mental health support services for those affected by the trauma associated with their attendance at any historic Federal Indian Day School including their families. This investment responds to what we’ve been hearing from Leadership, communities and other Indigenous partners on the need for these services.  The Government of Canada will work with existing Indigenous partners and community-based mental wellness service providers to support access to these services immediately.

This support is in addition to the $200 million provided in January 2020 to the McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation  for legacy projects to support commemoration projects, health and wellness programs, truth-telling events and the restoration and preservation of Indigenous languages and culture.

It is also in addition to other mental wellness services funded by the Government of Canada, including the Mental Health Counselling Benefit under the Non Insured Health Benefits Program, and crisis intervention services as part of the Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 a toll-free line for those experiencing emotional distress.

Today’s interim mental wellness investment supports the ongoing work with Indigenous partners and communities towards a longer-term and more holistic approach to mental wellness services. It also represents an important step towards healing for those affected by discrimination.

To find out more about or to access health supports for those impacted by Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as well the Federal Indian Day Schools, please call the number in your province or territory:

  • Atlantic: 1-866-414-8111
  • Quebec: 1-877-583-2965
  • Ontario: 1-888-301-6426
  • Manitoba: 1-866-818-3505
  • Saskatchewan: 1-866-250-1529
  • Alberta: 1-888-495-6588
  • Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon: 1-866-509-1769
  • British Columbia: 1-877-477-0775


“First Nations, Inuit and Métis continue to be affected by the trauma that stems from historic colonial policies such as federally-operated day schools and the disproportionately high levels of violence and loss of Indigenous women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) and Two-Spirit people. It is essential to provide continued community-based cultural mental health services for healing of all unresolved trauma.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Culturally appropriate and trauma-informed health and mental health supports are essential for families and survivors as they go forward on their healing journey. We recognize the harm done to them under historic, federally operated day schools and from the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people. These supports will be available to families, survivors during our work together to develop the National Action Plan.”  

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreement class members can receive immediate emotional assistance by calling 1-855-242-3310 through the national, toll free 24/7 crisis line.

  • For anyone who requires immediate emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, call 1-844-413-6649, a national toll-free 24/7 crisis call line.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Vanessa Adams
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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