TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne has apologized on behalf of the Ontario government to First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities for the "brutalities'' suffered at residential schools.
The formal apology was part of the province's reaction to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which found that children were physically and sexually abused and died in numbers that would not have been tolerated in any school system.
Wynne said Ontario wants to acknowledge "one of the most shameful chapters in Canadian history'' and said the province will teach a new generation of students the truth about our shared history.
She said residential schools set out to "take the Indian out of the child'' by removing them from their homes and systematically stripping them of their languages, cultures laws and rights.
Kathleen Wynne apologized on behalf of the Ontario government for the treatment of children at residential schools. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ontario will spend $250 million over three years to help understand the legacy of residential schools and to create what Wynne calls a culturally relevant and responsible justice system.
The Truth and Reconciliation commission issued 94 recommendations such as reducing the number of aboriginal children in foster care and granting police greater independence to investigate crimes where government may be an interested party.
Even as the premier was offering the formal apology in the legislature, leaders from the Grassy Narrows First Nation were in the Queen's Park media studio asking again for help dealing with mercury poisoning that has devastated their community.