Commemoration is honouring, educating, remembering, memorializing and/or paying tribute to residential school former students, their families and their communities, and acknowledging their experiences and the broad and systemic impacts of the residential school system. Commemoration may involve the creation of, or improvements to existing, permanent memorials and commemorative structures, or ceremonies or other projects.

The government will provide funding to facilitate regional and national Commemoration initiatives that address the residential school experience and provide the opportunity to share the initiative with family and community.

Commemoration funding will be divided into annual funding levels. Proposals that are not approved in any given year may be re-submitted in subsequent years.


The objective of the Commemoration Policy Directive is to:

  • assist in honouring and validating the healing and reconciliation of former students and their families through Commemoration initiatives that address their residential school experience;
  • provide support towards efforts to improve and enhance Aboriginal relationships and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people;
  • provide an opportunity for former students and their families to support one another and to recognize and take pride in their strengths, courage, resiliency, and achievements.
  • contribute to a sense of identity, unity and belonging;
  • promote Aboriginal languages, cultures, and traditional and spiritual values;
  • ensure that the legacy of residential schools and former students and their families’ experiences and needs are affirmed; and
  • memorialize in a tangible and permanent way the Residential school experience.


All former students, their families, communities and groups, are eligible to submit a proposal for a regional or national Commemoration project. Proposals should be submitted by communities, but proposals by other interested groups (for example former students of a particular school) may also be considered. Proposals will be submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for evaluation, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will make recommendations to IRSRC.


The following criteria shall guide approval on all proposals:

  • at least one member of the group (or where applicable the governing body of the group) is a former IRS student or an immediate family member of an IRS student;
  • disclosure of all sources and ainio’unts of Fadiig sough: and obtained for the initiative;
  • declaration that the group has not previously received any commemoration funding from IRSRC;
  • demonstration that the recipient has the necessary capacity to manage and administer commemoration funding; and
  • funding for all projects and events must respect Treasury Board policies and guidelines.

All decisions with respect to proposals will be made within the limits of the annual funding.


Eligible expenditures for commemorative projects may include rental of a suitable hall or public venue, publishing, printing, accounting and legal costs. Expenditures may also include professional fees and material costs related to the design, management and construction of plaques, monuments or other memorials.

Proposals should identify upkeep costs, if any


National Commemoration projects will be based on proposals for the creation of permanent memorials, commemorative structures or improvements. Other projects may focus on a particular school, or may take place within a particular community. It is contemplated that most commemoration events will have a lasting or permanent component such as a “National Day of Healing and Reconciliation”.


The Government of Canada requires accountability for specific results against stated objectives, in accordance with Treasury Board policies and directives.


As part of the overall holistic approach to resolving the legacy of Indian residential schools, the activities stemming from the Commemoration Policy Directive should be coordinated with other initiatives under the Agreement and should link with other aspects of the Agreement, where possible, to ensure the overall goals of reconciliation will be promoted.