'It will stand as a marker moment': TRC Commissioner on Canada's progress towards 94 calls to action

Six years has passed since the Truth and Reconcilation Commission released its final report on the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

Marie Wilson, one of three commissioners of the TRC, said everything they wanted to see happen was articulated in the calls to action.

“They describe situations of extreme equities and extreme and continuing harms,” Wilson told CTV News,

She noted there was a sense of urgency to the calls because many of the 80,000 survivors were aging rapidly.

“We wanted to see things done quickly so they would see the benefit of all their courageous actions that led to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Wilson said the TRC set out to establish a complete history of residential schools in Canada and to educate Canadians on that history and its ongoing impact.

“It is something that most of us knew nothing about and learned nothing about – whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous,” Wilson said.

She also said the TRC wanted to inspire ongoing reconciliation in several different ways.

“We wanted some lasting national tools that would make it possible to stay alert to everything that we had learned about the schools and to recommit ourselves in an ongoing way.”

As Wilson reflects back to her time on the TRC, she said the creation of a National Day for Truth and Reconcilation is an important step.

“It will stand as a marker moment,” Wilson said.

She explained a date circled on a calendar will hold Canadians accountable if efforts to uphold the calls to action start to slip.

“We will be called to attention to take stock of how we are doing to remember the extreme harms,” Wilson said. “And renew our pledge to do better and to differently going forward.”