Health Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provide free health support services to former residential school students and their families through all phases of the Settlement Agreement.
Health Canada delivers the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program, which ensures that eligible former residential school students and their families have access to an appropriate level of health support services, through all phases of the Settlement Agreement, so that they may safely address a broad spectrum of mental wellness issues related to the disclosure of childhood abuses.
INAC’s Resolution and Individual Affairs Sector funds the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, a national, 24-hour toll-free support service operated by trained Aboriginal crisis counselors.
The Indian Residential School’s Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) ensures that Health Canada is aware of dates for IAP hearings so that health supports are available to claimants as soon as possible in the process, with the claimant’s preference considered.
Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program
The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program provides mental health and emotional support services to eligible former residential school students and their families throughout all phases of the Settlement Agreement, except in British Columbia, where the services are provided by the First Nations Health Authority. The support program is delivered through local Aboriginal organizations.
The Resolution Health Support Program components include:
- cultural support services provided by Elders;
- emotional support services provided by Resolution Health Support Workers (RHSWs);
- professional counseling provided by psychologists and social workers registered with Health Canada; and
- assistance with the cost of transportation to access counseling and/or Traditional Healer services when not locally available.
Resolution Health Support Program services are safe, confidential, respectful and non-judgmental. Cultural Support Providers are available to provide emotional support during all aspects of the IAP.
Health support services available
The following health supports are available through the Resolution Health Support Program:
- Cultural Support: Cultural supports are provided by local Aboriginal organizations that coordinate the services of Elders and/or traditional healers. Cultural supports assist former students and their families to safely address issues related to residential schools and the disclosure of abuse. Specific services are chosen by the individual and can include traditional healing, ceremonies, teachings and dialogue.
- Emotional Support: Emotional support services are provided by local Aboriginal organizations and are designed to help former students and their families address issues related to the negative impacts of the residential school. Aboriginal health workers, known as Resolution Health Support Workers, will listen, talk and support individuals, and will attend IAP hearings.
- Professional Counseling: Professional counselors are psychologists and social workers who are registered with the province/territory and provide individual or family counseling. They will listen, talk, and assist individuals to find ways of healing from residential school experiences.
- Transportation: Assistance with transportation may be offered when health support services are not locally available.
Fact Sheet on Health Support Services Offered to Independent Assessment Process (IAP) Claimants
24 hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Accessing health support services
To access health support services and for more information, please call the provincial/territorial toll-free line:
|Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island||1-866-414-8111|
|Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut||1-800-464-8106|
National Crisis Line
A National Crisis Line has been set up to provide immediate support for former students and their families who are experiencing distress. It is operated by trained Aboriginal crisis counselors and provides access to emotional and crisis referral services. The Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.
Aboriginal Healing Foundation website
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was created to develop and study community-based Aboriginal-directed healing initiatives that address the legacy of abuse suffered at residential schools, including intergenerational impacts. Although the Foundation no longer funds initiatives, its website – www.ahf.ca – offers many free resources, including research materials, practical guides and a list of projects they have funded.