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Novel Coronavirus — July 12, 2021 Update: Explore Scouts Canada’s actions as we continue to follow the direction of government and health agencies in maintaining public health. View recommendations and stay informed here.

Remembering the 215 children and many more, who suffered in the residential school system.

June 7, 2021

Earlier this week, Scouts Canada joined all Canadians in mourning the loss of 215 children at the former Kamloops residential school. We also recognized that as an organization we have a long journey ahead to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Today, the Board of Governors met to discuss that path to reconciliation and agree on a clear commitment to action. 

Our work will be guided by the following principles:

  • We don’t want to do more harm. We recognize that through intentional and unintentional actions and inactions we have already caused harm. We regret that and want to ensure that we move forward deliberately, sincerely and in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
  • We need to be respectful. In order to move forward in a meaningful way, we must create a safe space for all members to reflect and voice their thoughts, emotions and concerns. As a land-based organization, we must center Indigenous perspectives with other diverse cultures in our movement. We must listen and learn together and allow time for reflection and consideration before we act. This is critical.
  • We must ACT with purpose. Dismantling systems of discrimination is complex work that requires intentional and informed action. We will investigate our involvement in the residential school system along with understanding our colonial origins. This will allow us to authentically apologize for the way our organization has impacted Indigenous communities.

We recognize the following:

  • A journey to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples plays a significant part in our ongoing work in the area of diversity and inclusion. This journey must include acknowledging our role in the residential school system as well as a deep reflection on how our history, our programs and practices have or continue to negatively impact Indigenous peoples today.
  • Scouts Canada is committed to understanding our history as a land-based movement and the role that our Scouting program has played in contributing to intergenerational harm resulting from the residential school system as well as individual acts of those involved in Scouting and the broader impacts of colonization.
  • We must not act arbitrarily. Any and all steps taken must be done in consultation with impacted Indigenous communities and partners.
  • Scouts Canada is committed to an open and respectful discussion of the role of Scouting in residential schools with a promise to fully and transparently share any and all information held by Scouts Canada. We aim to enable all members, Indigenous peoples and Canadians to fully understand the history of our organization.

We have committed to the following actions:

  • The Board of Governors of Scouts Canada will personally dedicate significant time to its own education and understanding of our history, involvement in colonial activities, and indigenous reconciliation. We encourage all members of Scouts Canada to do the same.
  • We will dedicate time and resources to auditing current policies and procedures to identify systemic racism. This audit will give particular attention to Scouting’s colonial origins and our impact on Indigenous communities through the residential school system and other actions.
  • We will actively engage Indigenous Scouters, youth, family members and external stakeholders in Scouts Canada’s ongoing work to develop programming that serves all communities; we will facilitate discussions that address the use of Indigenous language, imagery and symbolism.
  • We will open a respectful dialogue surrounding Scouting’s role in the residential school system that includes outlining how Scouters and youth members can contribute.
  • We will initiate an investigation into the records held by Scouts Canada from the time residential schools were open in order to understand the role Scouting played.
  • We acknowledge that Scouting played a role in the residential school system and has harmed Indigenous communities in other ways for which we wish to apologize. We will continue our work towards making a meaningful and authentic apology to survivors of residential schools, their families, and all Indigenous peoples. We recognize that we do not yet have a complete understanding of all that happened. While we believe an apology is an important first step, we recognize that, as we learn more, we will need to more meaningfully and properly engage with individual Indigenous communities.
  • We will not use Indigenous symbols in Scouting without appropriate consultation and approval of appropriate Indigenous communities.
  • We will conduct a national review of Scouts Canada property names and Group names and explore revising names appropriated from Indigenous languages or communities. This work will be completed in consultation and consensus with the appropriate Indigenous communities.

Prepare Your Learning Journey 


 Activities for Scout Sections 

Spirit Bear And Children Make History 

Beavers, Cubs, Scouts 

Listen to or read Spirit Bear’s story to learn about how you can help to make a difference in the lives of all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children. 

Finding our Place in Reconciliation 

Scouts, Venturers, Rovers 

Learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action as a first step in your learning journey. 

Engage in Self-Discovery 

Connect with Truth and Reconciliation calls to action and better understand your place in relation to Reconciliation.  

Online Learning  

Expand your awareness through self-guided Indigenous Relations Learning for Scouters. 

Resources for Scouters

A collection of resources to help increase the understanding of our relation to Indigenous communities—past, present and future.

A Learning Journey: Resources for Scouters.

June 1, 2021

We mourn the loss of 215 children at the former Kamloops residential school. The residential school system has caused enormous intergenerational harm and continued impact on Indigenous peoples.

As an organization, we recognize that we have a long journey towards our own reconciliation. It begins with building self-awareness. We are committed to humbly listening and learning about our own history so that we can truly gain an understanding of the impact of Canada’s colonial efforts.

Scouts Canada calls upon leaders throughout the country to work together towards true reconciliation. There is a need for Canadians, collectively and individually, to increase awareness, education, and equality.

We extend our sincere condolences and stand with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community, residential school survivors, their families, and their communities.

Scouts Canada’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

This message was sent by email on September 22nd, 2020 to all members of the Scouting community, including parents, Scouters, employees and volunteers. 

Scouting teaches youth values — trustworthiness, respect, kindness, helpfulness — alongside the importance of empathy, seeking to understand the beliefs and values of others, and inclusion. Over the last few months, we have reflected on how best to ensure that these same values guide our own actions and interactions. To date, as an organization, we have not pursued inclusion with the diligence and passion we should have. A number of you have rightfully shared this sentiment with us; we appreciate the open dialogue, and we agree. We can and must do better.

Now more than ever, we must lead by example when it comes to inclusion and anti-racism. We must demonstrate for our members and our communities what we stand for as well as what we stand against. We must work diligently to ensure that all Canadians, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, feel that they truly belong in Scouting. We must strive for a Scouts Canada that reflects our communities and is actively anti-racist.

For these reasons, the Board of Scouts Canada recently approved the development of a tangible diversity and inclusion strategy. A newly constituted Committee of the Board will champion this important work. A new staff position, reporting directly to the Executive Commissioner and CEO, will be created with clear accountability for driving development and implementation of a holistic approach to inclusion and anti-racism across Canada.

Our initial steps will include a review of all structures, practices, and policies to identify gaps and opportunities for inclusion — this work will involve external experts and partners.

We look forward to engaging you in this important work.  We must listen to you and our communities to better understand your lived experience.  We encourage you to push us to do better and to help us build a truly inclusive Scouting Community together.

Smiling Children


Scouts Canada’s Commitment to Promote Anti-Racism

As a movement and community, Scouts stand together against racism.

We were shocked at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and we are moved by the following outcry against systemic oppression. Moved and determined.

Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of what we do as Scouts. Our movement is built on a strong foundation of fairness, friendship and equality. At this time, we recognize that we must also reflect upon how we live up to those values and strive to do better. 

That is why we are moved to action. We recognize that we must not stay silent in the face of systemic racial injustices faced by people of colour in the United States and Canada. We are calling it out by adding our voice to the public support of this vital cause.

That is also why we are determined to do more. Scouts Canada will ensure our programs continue to help young people learn to look out for each other, to discover and celebrate their differences, and to call out racist language and behaviour.

These are difficult times as families are already facing unprecedented disruption. To support our community, we will be sharing content on social media over the next few days with advice and support on discussing racism with young people.

We are a movement that inspires understanding and the power of community and friendship. There is no place for racism in a vibrant, healthy community. Today, we make a commitment not only to be ‘not racist’ but to be actively ‘anti-racist’.