A newly finalized information-sharing agreement will enable the Manitoba Vital Statistics Branch to share records, including death records of Indigenous children who attended residential schools in Manitoba, with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister James Teitsma and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.
"This agreement responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) Call to Action 71 and represents one more purposeful step the Manitoba government is taking on the path forward to reconciliation," said Teitsma. "We are committed to sharing these important records in the spirit of collaboration and co-operation as we seek to support a process of healing from the harms inflicted by the residential school system."
The information-sharing agreement outlines the process for the NCTR to request and receive vital statistics records for missing Indigenous children who attended residential schools. As the organization entrusted to receive, hold and archive the TRC's records, the NCTR will add these newly acquired records to the permanent record of what happened in the residential school system.
"As a government, our work is guided by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," said Clarke. "We will continue to implement and take concrete actions to support these important initiatives to further reconciliation."
"The memorandum of agreement is an important first step toward finding our little ones," said Stephanie Scott, executive director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. "Survivors, families and communities have the right to the truth and every piece of information we can access helps us to tell the story."
The ministers noted the agreement allows the NCTR to collect, use and disclose the records for specified purposes including:
- establishing a missing children register to assist Indigenous communities and family members to identify, commemorate and learn more about missing loved ones;
- assisting in providing insight into burial locations, causes of death, and rates of death of children who died in the residential school system;
- maintaining Indigenous community narratives and participating in Indigenous-led ceremonies;
- assisting in the development of commemorative markers or other commemoration efforts as determined by Indigenous communities; and
- enabling research.
For more information on the NCTR, visit https://www.nctr.ca