Manitoba opens access to death certificates of children at residential schools

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government has signed an agreement to open access to death certificates of Indigenous children who died at residential schools.

The agreement allows the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to request the documents from the provincial Vital Statistics Branch and build a fuller understanding of what happened at the schools.

Stephanie Scoot, the centre’s executive director, says every bit of information about former students helps show the truth.

Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says it’s important for people to learn and talk about the children who attended the schools.

Government Services Minister James Teitsma says the memorandum responds to one of the calls to action in the report from the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission eight years ago.

An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools over a century in Canada, and the commission's report detailed that many experienced abuse.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2023.

The Canadian Press