A Statement on the Residential School Tragedy in Saskatchewan

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, the Cowessess First Nation announced the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near the grounds of a former residential school in Saskatchewan. Our hearts go out to the Cowessess First Nation and all of our Indigenous community members in light of this unconscionable and tragic loss. This follows the recent discovery of the unmarked grave of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

This is not simply a story about a dark chapter in Canada’s history. The racism responsible for these tragedies continues with disproportionately high rates of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in the child welfare system, multiple boil-water advisories in First Nations communities, the inequitable representation of individuals in our own health and forensic systems, and countless other examples.

Our action as allies is critical. Women’s College Hospital is committed to addressing the systemic racism responsible for these tragedies and working to achieve genuine reconciliation. At this time, I encourage each of you to:

I want everyone to have the support they need to process this news, particularly Indigenous staff, physicians, learners and patients. Our Employee and Family Assistance Program (1-800-387-4765) is available for those in need of support. And the National Indian Residential School crisis line is available to provide 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others affected: 1-866-925-4419

Every child matters.