Ending Discrimination

All Canadians must support reconciliation

December 15, 2015

Today, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report documenting the dark history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system, in which more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were subjected to systemic racism, abuse and other forms of mistreatment.

The final report, formed after six years of collecting testimony from more than 6,500 survivors, makes it clear that the physical and sexual abuse, and disease and death resulting from poor living conditions, are directly connected to systemic racism First Nations people continue to experience today.

Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff, responded to the report by thanking the survivors and echoing the commission’s call on governments to swiftly implement all the recommendations.

“We need to recognize the incredible courage and trust shown by the survivors who shared their stories. In order to do justice to that trust, the federal government must work with the provinces, territories and First Nations governments to ensure all the commission’s recommendations are passed without delay,” said Yussuff.

This includes the commission’s recommendation to sign on to and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as the framework for reconciliation.

However, Yussuff recognized today’s observation by commission chair Justice Murray Sinclair, that “reconciliation is not an Indigenous problem: it is a Canadian one.” Yussuff agreed that all sectors of Canadian society, not just governments, must do their part to dismantle systemic racism and support an indigenous-centered process of reconciliation.

Over the past several years, the Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliated unions have been working to support First Nations leadership to campaign on issues like safe drinking water on reserves, child welfare reform, and the need for a national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The commission also raised specific labour issues, calling upon the federal government “to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.” Yussuff noted the unemployment rate of Indigenous Canadians has been in the double digits since 2007, compared to single-digit rates for non-Indigenous Canadians. When they are employed, Indigenous Canadians, particularly women, experience a significant income gap.

“All Canadians have a responsibility to further the reconciliation process. We, in the labour movement, will continue to support First Nations people on the issues the commission has raised,” Yussuff said.

Read the full report here.

Photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada

  • Workplace Health and Safety
  • IDAHOTB: Canada’s unions call for an end to violence and harassment

    May 17, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Conservatives refuse to talk lagging wages instead push low-wage austerity agenda

    May 16, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Asian Heritage Month: Canada must do more to eliminate anti-Asian racism

    April 30, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Social Justice and Democracy
  • Canada’s unions celebrate end to discriminatory blood donation policy

    April 28, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Concrete action needed to address anti-Black racism and discrimination

    February 1, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Federal government must increase efforts to end Islamophobia in Canada

    January 28, 2022
    Click to open the link
  • Better Pay and Benefits
  • Statement of the CLC and provincial and territorial federations of labour in response to the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee Report

    December 20, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Human Rights Day: Canada must ratify C-189 to protect vulnerable domestic workers

    December 10, 2021
    Click to open the link
  • Ending Discrimination
  • Sheryl Burns awarded the 2021 Carol McGregor CLC Disability Rights Award

    December 2, 2021
    Click to open the link