December 15, 2020, marks a full five years since the release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
It was a momentous day that saw residential school Survivors, their families, and representatives of the institutions responsible for overseeing the horrors of Canada’s Indian residential school system gather in Ottawa to chart a new path for the future guided by the Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Governments committed to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal counterparts to, “fully implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” But five years later, that commitment has not materialized. In 2020, a tumultuous year for many reasons, our analysis reveals that just 8 Calls to Action have been implemented, this is down from 9 in 2019. There are five explanations for this lack of action: 1) policy makers excluding Indigenous peoples from the “public interest”, 2) deep rooted paternalistic attitudes of politicians, bureaucrats, and other policy makers, 3) the ongoing legacy and reality of structural anti-Indigenous racism, 4) predatory non-Indigenous organizations that exploit reconciliation, and finally, 5) insufficient resources. Ultimately, we find that Canada is failing residential school Survivors and their families.