October 2, 2023

Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Reflect, Learn, Act 

Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, observed on September 30th, is a day of profound significance. It represents our shared commitment as a country to acknowledge and confront the historical injustices inflicted upon Indigenous peoples, especially the atrocities of the residential school system. Although Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is committed to promoting continuous reflection, learning and action throughout the year, this day offers us a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to reconciliation and deepen our collective understanding of Indigenous history in Canada. 

The Role of Colleges and Institutes  

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identifies education as one of the five key areas requiring reform to attain reconciliation. This recognition underscores the pivotal role of colleges and institutes in Canada’s reconciliation journey. We take immense pride in this role, especially given we are the primary postsecondary education providers for Indigenous learners. Over 86% of Indigenous people reside within 50km of a college campus. 

According to Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census data, colleges and institutes are making great strides. Out of the 37% of Indigenous people in Canada who hold a postsecondary credential, an impressive 75% obtained it from a college or institute. While this progress is encouraging, it’s crucial to acknowledge that disparities persist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Additionally, the fact that fewer than half of Indigenous people have attained a postsecondary credential serves as a reminder that reconciliation is a vital and ongoing effort.     

We are proud of the fact that colleges and institutes are far from idle when it comes to reconciliation. We actively engage with Indigenous communities across the country to dismantle barriers and cultivate a culture of respect and inclusion within our institutions. Here are just a few of the many ways we’re taking concrete actions to advance reconciliation: 

Learn and Reflect: 

For those seeking a deeper understanding of Indigenous history in Canada, here’s a curated list of our go-to resources: 

Take Action: 

Feeling inspired? Colleges and institutes can continue to take a proactive step by joining the 72 institutions that have signed CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol. It underscores the importance of structures and approaches to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs and support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities.  

And join us for the National Indigenous Education Symposium 2023 – we hope to see you there!