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The Globe and Mail

Ottawa to cut programs for residential school survivors, commission head says

Justice Murray Sinclair, centre, and fellow commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


The man heading the commission into the trauma caused by native residential schools says Ottawa plans to cut a program that helps survivors of the system to heal.

Justice Murray Sinclair said the program is for people who have told their stories of abuse at Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings across the country.

Justice Sinclair said the federal government is also balking at recommendations to improve mental-health services that would help the extended families of these victims, especially in remote rural and Northern communities.

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"Health Canada has decided on its own, without consultation with us or any other entity engaged in the Indian residential school settlement agreement, that effective this year, they are going to be terminating the Resolution Health Support Program, and leaving survivors who continue to experience personal difficulties after this event to essentially leave them on their own to find their own form of treatment," Justice Sinclair said.

"Our point is you can't expect people to heal immediately or to be able to overcome the personal difficulties they feel as a result of feeling those experiences again. And that healing is going to take some time."

Justice Sinclair made the remarks during commission hearings in Edmonton being attended by hundreds of residential school survivors and their extended families.

During the hearings people who were forced to attend the schools have been recounting stories of sexual and emotional abuse they suffered and how it has affected them and their children and grandchildren.

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