We recognize that this statement comes at a time that is difficult for many and that our efforts to honour survivors and families may serve as an unwelcome reminder to those who have suffered and those who are suffering from hardships from generations of past government policies that were harmful to Indigenous peoples.
The National Flag on the Peace Tower in Ottawa and on all Government of Canada buildings and establishments across the country will return to full-mast at sunset on Sunday, November 7. The flag will be lowered at sunrise on November 8 for Indigenous Veterans Day, raised again at sunrise the next day, and then lowered on November 11 for Remembrance Day.
The National Flag of Canada was lowered to half-mast on May 30 following the identification of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops residential school. It has remained at half-mast in memory of the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools, for those who never returned home, and in honour of the families whose lives were forever changed. As the paramount symbol of our nation, the act of flying the National Flag of Canada at half-mast for the longest period of time in Canada’s history speaks to the extraordinary sense of loss.
Raising the flag at this time will allow us to honour and remember important moments in Canada’s history. Many discussions were held between Indigenous partners and the Government of Canada to seek guidance on how best to honour the victims of residential schools and ensure they are never forgotten in the future.
Moving forward, the National Flag of Canada will be half-masted to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation every September 30. Additionally, the Government is advancing work in response to Call to Action 81 and to commission and install a national monument in Ottawa to honour residential school survivors and all the children who never returned home. The Government will also fly the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Survivors Flag in a suitable location in the Parliamentary Precinct, with the Centre’s permission. In addition, work will continue in partnership with survivors, families and representative organizations to seek appropriate protocols to recognize future findings at former residential schools and to ensure their legacy remains at the forefront of Canadians’ minds.
Finally, the government will also progress efforts, with Indigenous partners, to accelerate the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, with particular focus on the Calls to Action surrounding the National Council for Reconciliation.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy and impact of residential schools are never forgotten, and it will continue to take concrete and meaningful actions toward reconciliation, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. We stand with Indigenous peoples, and we recognize our shared responsibility in healing from the intergenerational trauma that the residential school system continues to have on survivors, their families and their communities.