The Indian Residential School (IRS) system grew out of Canada's missionary experience with various religious organizations. The federal government began to play a role in the development and administration of this system as early as 1874.
The schools were located in every province and territory, except Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Most residential schools ceased to operate by the mid-1970s; and the last federally-run residential school in Canada closed in 1996.
It is estimated there are 80,000 people alive today who attended residential schools.
Although it is not uncommon to hear former students speak about their positive experiences in residential schools, their stories are often overshadowed by disclosures of abuse, criminal convictions of offenders, and the legacy of the Indian Residential School system.
As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRS SA), Health Canada, in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, provides services to former IRS students and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program.
See The Path for Healing... webpage to learn about how the legacy of Indian Residential Schools is being addressed.
The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program provides former IRS students and their families regardless of status or place or residence within Canada, with access to counselling, as well as cultural and emotional support services. The Program also provides assistance with the cost of transportation when counselling and cultural support services are not locally available.
To access these services or for more information, please call the toll-free line in your province/territory.
The Health Support Services for Former Indian Residential School Students and Their Families postcard provides an outline of the services that are available to former students and their family members. The postcard also provides contact numbers that can be used to access services and obtain additional information.