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Métis youth’s cycle trek to raise awareness of legacy of Residential Schools

Since its inception in 2013 September 30 has been marked as Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize and honour the experiences of Residential Schools survivors, acknowledge the intergenerational impacts on individuals, family, and communities and work to raise awareness and support Indigenous communities on the path to reconciliation and healing.

This year Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Citizen Maddy Pilon is working to raise awareness with a bicycle journey through the history of Residential Schools in Ontario.

Maddy’s trek will begin at 4 a.m. on September 30 at the Mount Elgin Residential School memorial site on the Chippewa Of The Thames First Nation, from there she will continue on to the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford. She hopes to reach the Alderville Manual Labour School memorial plaque by 4 a.m. on October 1, all while sharing stories, resources, and information along the way.

Maddy shared the inspiration her journey:

“A few weeks ago I had a goal of biking 300km in one day. Over many hours of biking I decided to post little update videos throughout the day. I didn’t expect anything to come of it, but I ended up having a lot of people watch and share the videos, and tell me how much they enjoyed watching me make my goal,” says Maddy. “I thought that if I could reach that many people just off a bike ride, I could do another ride and reach at least that many people to increase their awareness of Residential Schools and the pain and suffering that they caused and continue to cause to this day.

Maddy hails from the Georgian Bay area where most of her Métis family still lives. She currently lives near Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Belleville, Ontario. Her Métis ancestors were from Drummond Island and the Red River area.

Maddy believes her that training has prepared her to make her way to each of the schools in 24 hours.

“My number one goal is to raise awareness. So many people were not taught about Canada’s dark past and the intergenerational trauma it has caused,” says Maddy. “I have chosen this route so that I can share that the physical buildings still exist, to make a point that it really wasn’t that long ago that children were taken from their homes and forced to assimilate.”

Maddy’s goal is to raise $2400 — $100 per hour of biking — with the funds being split the funds between a different charitable groups and organizations.

Those interested can follow along with Maddy’s trek on Instagram @maddypilon. Donations to her GoFundMe campaign can be found here: https://gf.me/u/y2qqf3


Ontario Modernizes Social Assistance to Help More People Re-enter the Workforce

Collaborative and innovative plan will make the system more responsive and efficient

September 30, 2020

TORONTO — The Ontario Government is unveiling plans to build a more responsive, efficient and person-centred social assistance system that will get people back to work and help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis. As part of the first phase of the social assistance recovery and renewal plan, the province will be focusing on improved access to employment and training services, developing new digital tools and modern service options, and ways to process financial assistance faster.

“We have learned from the COVID-19 outbreak that we need to fundamentally change how we operate,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “That’s why we are beginning to roll out a sustainable, modern system that gives recipients a path to jobs, greater independence and improved outcomes. We are committed to helping people connect to the supports they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The initial phase of the plan will be rolled out in the coming months with measures that build on the enhancements already underway to improve the system. These new measures include:

  • Enhanced Access to Employment and Training: Working with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to improve access to employment and training services to drive the best outcomes for social assistance clients, including people with disabilities who have been particularly hard hit by job losses during the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Accelerating Digital Delivery: Accessing supports will be easier with new digital tools and modern service options such as an online application, expansion of the MyBenefits digital platform to improve access for people receiving social assistance, and new communications channels to allow two-way digital messaging between clients and caseworkers;
  • Centralized and Automated Delivery: A centralized intake process that reduces paperwork, giving caseworkers more time to support clients through crisis and help them get back to work;
  • Risk-based Eligibility Reviews: Automated, smarter eligibility verification with provincial, federal and third-party sources to make financial assistance processing faster, while strengthening program integrity; and
  • Collaborating with Partners: By co-designing a new provincial-municipal transformation vision with municipal Ontario Works delivery partners; working with First Nations partners to develop a social assistance recovery and renewal plan that responds to unique First Nations priorities and circumstances; and engaging with key stakeholders, including staff, provincial bargaining agents, clients and health care providers.

“These changes will transform the system to provide better support for our most vulnerable, allow frontline staff to focus on results for people rather than paperwork, and assist people to return to work and contribute to building a thriving Ontario economy,” said Minister Smith.

Quick Facts

  • Based on a 2018 study, caseworkers spend approximately a quarter of their day filing and organizing paper work.
  • ODSP processes approximately 35,000 pieces of paper a day.
  • One in five people stay on Ontario Works for more than five years.
  • Almost half the people who leave Ontario Works return — four in five of those that return are back on it within a year.

Additional Resources

  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn how the province is helping support vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Related Topics

Business and Economy

Information about Ontario’s economy and how to do business here. Includes economic development opportunities, research funding, tax credits for business and the Ontario Budget. Learn more

Education and Training

Learn about Ontario’s early years, education and training systems. Includes information on child care, elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities, skills training and financial aid. Learn more


Learn about the government services available to you and how government works. Learn more

Health and Wellness

Get help navigating Ontario’s health care system and connecting with the programs or services you’re looking for. Learn more

Home and Community

Information for families on major life events and care options, including marriage, births and child care. Also includes planning resources for municipalities. Learn more

Jobs and Employment

We’ve got the resource and supports to help connect job seekers with employers. Learn more

Rural and North

Information about the province’s Far North and rural communities. Get connected to business improvement organizations and learn more about funding and programs that support rural, northern and Indigenous communities. Learn more

Taxes and Benefits

Learn about taxes in Ontario and what they support, including tax credits you can get to help you with living and business costs. Learn more


OTF participates in Orange Shirt Day

On Wednesday, September 30, Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) staff across Ontario once again participated in Orange Shirt Day. While our staff are all working remotely, we were able to observe the day by gathering online and wearing orange shirts to show solidarity with Canada’s residential school survivors. OTF staff took time to watch a video about Phyllis Webstad, whose personal story about her residential school experience was the inspiration for Orange Shirt Day.

In June 2015, OTF signed The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action. Signatories pledged to work towards reconciliation through this collective commitment, by ensuring that positive action will continue beyond the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

OTF demonstrates its ongoing commitment to reconciliation and supporting Indigenous communities through continued learning on Indigenous cultures, histories, and challenges facing Indigenous communities.

We will continue to learn and remember, understand and acknowledge, participate and act.


Announcement: Membership of the Reference Group for the Appropriate Review of Indigenous Research

CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC welcome all members of the newly established tri-agency Reference Group for the Appropriate Review of Indigenous Research (Reference Group). Following an expression of interest process launch in early 2020, eighteen individuals have been selected to provide advice and guidance on the development and implementation of culturally appropriate review approaches and practices for research conducted by and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. Collectively, the appointees have a deep cultural understanding of Indigenous research and Indigenous Knowledges. They bring together the broad perspectives of youth, Knowledge Keepers and academics (at various career stages), as well as representation from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples including northern, urban, and on-reserve realities, gender equity and geographic locations. The agencies and Indigenous communities across Canada will benefit from the diversity and collective wisdom of the Reference Group.

Formation of the Reference Group is an important step in implementing the agencies’ strategic plan: Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada: Strategic Plan 2019-2022. Co-developed with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, the plan will guide development of new models of support of Indigenous research and research training in Canada. It reflects the agencies’ and the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s (CRCC) commitment to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to establish a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples—one that creates a more equal society that respects the value of traditional knowledge systems and is based on mutual respect.


  • Myrle Ballard, University of Manitoba
  • Suzy Basile, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Amber Bedard, University of Calgary
  • Aimée Craft, University of Ottawa
  • Catherine Dussault, Student, Quebec
  • Kimberly Fairman, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
  • Heather Igloliorte, Concordia University
  • Lawrence Ignace, Yukon
  • Rebekah Jacques, Western University
  • Logan MacDonald, University of Waterloo
  • Georgina Martin, Vancouver Island University
  • Denise McDonald, University of Alberta
  • Lorrilee McGregor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine – Laurentian & Lakehead Universities
  • Julian Robbins, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
  • Margaret Robinson, Dalhousie University
  • Raven Sinclair, University of Regina (Saskatoon Campus)
  • Suzanne Stewart, University of Toronto
  • Matthew Wildcat, University of Alberta


PPSC: Annual Report 2019-2020 Tabled in Parliament

OTTAWA – September 30, 2020 – Today, Kathleen Roussel, Director of Public Prosecutions, announced the tabling in Parliament of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada Annual Report 2019-2020. The report covers the period from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC)’s prosecutors, as well as administrative and support staff, work with members of the justice community across Canada to prosecute federal offences and provide legal advice and assistance to law enforcement, including police and investigative agencies. This Annual Report features context and highlights on this wide scope of work and gives Canadians an opportunity to follow our progress, particularly on the many high-profile cases that were concluded this year.

This year the report was prepared under unique circumstances as the world dealt with the impact of COVID-19. Staff showed a tremendous amount of resiliency and commitment as they found novel ways of communicating with one another to deliver on the PPSC’s mandate.

“As you read our annual report, I hope you will clearly see that dedication to public safety and to the protection of the public, which underlies not only our front line operations but also the central services that support them,” said Ms. Roussel.

New to the report this year are an outline of the criminal justice process from the role of investigative agencies to sentencing and appeals; a map of PPSC offices, highlighting work done across the country; and a section recognizing and congratulating prosecutors who have become judges and employees who have won awards.

The PPSC is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction and provides prosecution-related advice to investigative and law enforcement agencies across Canada. As of March 31, 2020, the organization had 1,122 employees, and also retained the services of more than 365 agents from private-sector law firms.

The report is now available on the PPSC website.

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Media Relations
[email protected]


Paths to Reconciliation

OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 30, 2020 – With the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSAA) came the recognition of 139 schools attended by approximately 150,000 First Nations, Metis. This truth sent shockwaves across Canada and revealed a dark chapter in Canada’s history. Yet, this is just the very beginning of all that Canadians need to learn and acknowledge about Canada’s colonial history and the use of “education” in the attempted assimilation of Indigenous children. To raise awareness about aspects of the history of the residential school system that have yet to properly be acknowledged, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) is launching the Paths to Reconciliation learning program. This unprecedented program, which includes a website and a suite of educational resources built from the first-hand accounts of residential school survivors, was funded by the Government of Canada’s Department of Heritage.

Paths to Reconciliation provides teachers and the general public with guided learning opportunities that revolve around the stories of Leah Idlout, Clara Clare and Mike Durocher, three survivors who shared the experience of being removed from their communities and forced to adopt the customs of European settlers. What sets this program apart is the inclusion of maps, personal testimonies, photographs, audio recordings and video documentation related to 61 residential schools that were not acknowledged in the IRSSA. Paths to Reconciliation offers all Canadians the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the truth about residential schools and strengthen their efforts towards reconciliation.

“Even after six years of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the decades of survivor activism that lead to its establishment, and the thousands of survivor testimonies courageously shared to educate all of us, there is so much still to be learned and acknowledged” says Charlene Bearhead, Director of Reconciliation with the RCGS. “Paths to Reconciliation shines a light on 61 residential schools not recognized in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and prioritizes the experiences of the survivors of those schools. At Canadian Geographic we are honoured to serve as the conduit for sharing these sacred survivor stories and the next steps in truth seeking and reconciliation related to this still largely unknown part of our collective, colonial history.”

This program, and its planned expansion which will include additional stories and audiovisuals, gives all Canadians the foothold needed to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Paths to Reconciliation invites survivors of all residential schools, and all those forced or compelled to leave their homes in the name of colonial education, to share their own experiences and perspectives. Members of the public who wish to share their stories are invited to contact [email protected]

About The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society was founded in 1929 with the important mandate of making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. Under the patronage of the Governor General, the Society has, for 90 years, led the charge towards fostering a deeper appreciation of Canada’s natural, cultural and social heritage. While best known for its iconic publication, Canadian Geographic magazine, the Society also runs a national K-12 education program, actively supports Canadian expeditions, and provides grants and scholarships for cutting-edge geographical research.

For further information: Media Information: Keegan Hoban, Project/Communications Coordinator, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, [email protected] or (877) 786-2376 ext. 138


Jennifer Podemski launches Shine Network to help empower Indigenous women – Globalnews.ca

September 30, 2020

A glaring set of statistics if there ever was one: in Canada, between 2017 and 2019, the percentage of Indigenous women responsible for our television and cinematic writing — zero. Directing? Zero. Cinematography? Zero.

How about key creative work? A pathetic uptick to one per cent. According to the 2019 Women in View on Screen Report, the numbers for women overall in the industry, both in front of and behind the camera, are dreadful, not even reaching 50 per cent parity with men. For Black women and women of colour, it’s even worse, and for Indigenous women, it’s downright abysmal.

Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi producer/director Jennifer Podemski (Cardinal, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Fire Song, Sensitive Skin), founder and CEO of Redcloud Studios, is taking matters into her own hands. She’s created The Shine Network, a media platform aiming to empower and celebrate Indigenous women in film and TV.

Read More: https://globalnews.ca/news/7364481/shine-network-jennifer-podemski-indigenous-women-movies-tv/

WAHA: Origins of Orange T-shirt Day

September 30, 2020

September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.

Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story in her own words…

I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.

I was 13.8 years old and in grade 8 when my son Jeremy was born. Because my grandmother and mother both attended residential school for 10 years each, I never knew what a parent was supposed to be like. With the help of my aunt, Agness Jack, I was able to raise my son and have him know me as his mother.

I went to a treatment centre for healing when I was 27 and have been on this healing journey since then. I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter. Even with all the work I’ve done!

I am honored to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories.


Phyllis Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage, was born in Dog Creek, and lives in Williams Lake, BC. Today, Phyllis is married, has one son, a step-son and five grandchildren.  She is the Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society, and tours the country telling her story and raising awareness about the impacts of the residential school system.  She has now published two books, the “Orange Shirt Story” and “Phyllis’s  Orange Shirt” for younger children.

She earned diplomas in Business Administration from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; and in Accounting from Thompson Rivers University. Phyllis received the 2017 TRU Distinguished Alumni Award for her unprecedented impact on local, provincial, national and international communities through the sharing of her orange shirt story.


Introducing the stars from CBC’s Trickster – CBC

The new series features seasoned virtuosos and emerging stars.

Sep 30, 2020

The highly anticipated supernatural thriller series Trickster, adapted from Eden Robinson’s bestselling novel Son of a Trickster, follows an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family in check. The series is set to premiere on October 7th at 9 p.m. (9:30NT), on CBC Television and CBC Gem.

While you may recognize some of the show’s stars from your other favourite shows, Trickster introduces emerging talent as well. Here’s a look at the cast who portray the series’ contemporary Indigenous characters with sheer conviction.

Read More: https://www.cbc.ca/television/introducing-the-stars-from-cbc-s-trickster-1.5708508

Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS) and Discovery House to Launch Wah-Ka-Ih-Kun Mamo Anokiwin (Working together to Build A House) Initiative

THUNDER BAY, ON: Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KETS) in partnership with Discovery House announced the launch of Wah-Ka-Ih-Kun Mamo Anokiwin Initiative with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement today at Ramada Airlane Hotel and Conference Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Wah-Ka-Ih-Kun Mamo Anokiwin (Working Together to Build a House), will help train 64 Matawa Youth (ages 16-30) in a Construction Craft Worker Training Program that will operate primarily in northern Matawa communities through the use of Galaxy Technologies. ‘Smart Classrooms’ will be installed in selected Matawa First Nations to provide faster more comprehensive distance learning. Highspeed satellite internet, large screens and new tablets will help create an interactive learning environment in the participants home community, removing the need to relocate for educational and training purposes.
Participants will also assist in building self-sufficient, ‘net-zero’ living units in participating Matawa communities such as Eabametoong First Nation. Eabametoong Nation is scheduled to receive a 64 Housing Unit that will include a greenhouse, solar power, geothermal heating and water filtration technology. Each unit will be able to house a family in approximately 1700sq/ft of living space. 32 Housing Units will be built in each of the remote access communities of Marten Falls First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Nibinamik First Nation and Webequie First Nation.

Greenhouses built into the roof of the buildings will grow vegetables 8 months of the year, with data collection technology that will monitor and asses crop quality and quantity for viable crops in low light environments. 30 individuals will be employed by each Discovery House complex and each complex is structured as a community owned agricultural co-op.
The project will deliver unprecedented industry leading automation in vertical horticultural, aquacultural and agricultural product processing that will achieve energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, environmental responsibility and production levels previously unattainable.

The Construction Craft Worker Training Program has a funding commitment from the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada (75%) and Discovery House (25%) combined total of $15.5 million over 3 years, the longest running program at KKETS to date.

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For more information, please contact Wayland Moonias, Project Officer at (807) 356-4301 or by email at [email protected] or Roxann Shapwaykeesic, KKETS media contact at (807) 633-9928 or by email at [email protected]


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