On September 30, we join individuals and organizations from coast to coast in marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Covenant House Toronto recognizes the importance of officially honouring this day, which aligns with our ongoing commitments and actions to advance reconciliation.

In 2021, the federal government passed legislation to mark this day of deep reflection, acknowledgment and committed action towards a better future for Indigenous peoples.

We know from the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, that approximately 30 per cent of young people experiencing homelessness in Canada identify as Indigenous. The 2021 City of Toronto Street Needs Assessment found Indigenous people continue to be overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Representing 23 per cent of the overall homeless population in the city, Indigenous people are also more likely to be sheltering outdoors and in encampments.  We acknowledge this overrepresentation is a direct result of systemic racism, prejudice, oppression and historical trauma.

To mark National, Day for Truth & Reconciliation, will be providing onsite programming and activities for youth including:

  • A presentation by an elder storyteller.
  • Artist-led workshops for the youth.
  • Serving an Indigenous-themed meal for interested youth.
  • Wearing orange shirts designed by Indigenous artists.

To better support Indigenous youth, staff in our health clinic recently led work on truth and reconciliation and created a five-part action plan to update the way the agency provides care to youth.

The plan involves building Indigenous-focused youth advisory groups, engaging the agency to work on the 94 calls from the Truth and Reconciliation final report, train staff on how to engage and welcome more Indigenous youth in the clinic organization-wide and work with Indigenous service agencies in our neighbourhood to better serve Indigenous youth.

The goal is to ensure we provide a welcoming place for health care services to benefit all the young people we serve.

Ways to get involved on National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

  • Wear orange on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day to create meaningful discussion about the effects of residential schools and the legacy they have left behind. Learn about the origins of that day here.
  • Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. Commit and make a plan to take action in your own community.
  • Learn about land acknowledgments and how to create one that is thoughtful, meaningful and honours the true history and peoples of the land where you live, work and play.
  • Attend and participate in events to help educate, engage and inspire reflection, as your schedules permit.

This may be a difficult day for many and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7 for those that may need counselling or support. You can call 1-800-721-0066 or the 24-hr crisis line 1-866-925-4419.