National Day for Truth and Reconciliation seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, their families and communities and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. Funded by the federal government and run by churches, residential schools go back as far as the 1870’s and were used to not only physically separate Indigenous children from their families, but also to strip them of their culture, language and identity. Many were abused at the hands of those responsible for looking after them and countless thousands died. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released 94 calls to action to advance the cause of reconciliation. Of these 94 calls to action, seven are focused primarily on health and the healthcare sector. CTN joins many organizations in reflecting and learning together on this significant day.
September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day – a day to commemorate the children who attended residential schools. This date is also significant because it’s also the time of year when children left their homes and communities to attend these schools. The significance of the ‘orange shirt’ is tied to the moving story of Phyllis Webstad. In 1973, six-year-old Phyllis was gifted a new orange shirt from her grandmother and she wore it to a residential school in British Columbia. School officials immediately removed her orange shirt and replaced it with a school uniform. This impacted Phyllis’ mental and emotional well-being and left her with a sense that she didn’t matter. Phyllis shared her story at a reunion with other survivors in 2013 and she continues to speak about her experience to inspire other survivors to share their stories.
CTN recognizes that there is a lot of work to do to build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive culture. As part of this work and to reflect on the significance of this day, CTN employees wear orange, have participated in a learning circle – a safe environment where everyone can start by acknowledging our own truths, spark a conversation, listen and learn from one another and received a series of resources to encourage independent learning and listening. CTN’s land acknowledgment and guidelines, are also part of our own work towards reconciliation and supports our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigeneity and accessibility (EDIIA).
To learn more about the legacy of residential schools and the issues facing Indigenous communities across Canada, here are some resources we have been sharing with our employees that may be helpful to you and your family:
Canada's National Ballet School - Adaptive Dance Program - Toronto
The NBS Kids – Adaptive Dance Program was created by Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), in consultation with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
Autism Ontario - Youth Cooking Program (8-17) - Online
Autistic youth 8-17 are invited to join our 8-weeks virtual cooking program where they will advance their culinary skills and try new foods.
Sign up for our email list to receive information about events, newsletters, resources and more.
Interested in volunteering with CTN?
Do you have questions about your child’s development or services available in York Region or Simcoe County
Share information, tips and resources
with other families