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View Scouts Canada’s Reconciliation Journey Update (April 2022)


Diversity Equity And Inclusion at Scouts Canada

Reconciliation is at the Heart of Our Journey

How We Got Here

Scouts Canada is committed to living up to its values by being a diverse and inclusive organization that is welcoming to all Canadians.   

In 2019 the Board of Governors began exploring how Scouts Canada could pursue Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within all areas of the organization. While progressing this work, global protests against racial injustice were spurred across the world. At this time, we heard firsthand from many of our members that we must do better and commit to action - we agreed. The Board made an initial public commitment to be anti-racist, followed by hiring a Director of Diversity and Inclusion to work with our CEO, and developed an official Board working group to support the organization in its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey.  


A Decisive Moment

In June 2021, the Board agreed that in order to truly be diverse and inclusive in our Canadian context, and as an organization centered on land-based programming, it is critical that we begin develop our appropriate place in the Reconciliation journey with Indigenous peoples. 



With this commitment, we have also come to recognize that through intentional and unintentional actions and inactions, Scouting has caused harm to Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report identified Scouts Canada as an organization with a specific presence in the residential school system.  In addition, in order to address any barriers to inclusion, it is important that we investigate our movement’s history, how it impacts our relationship to the original stewards of this land, and what that signifies to diverse Canadians.  This is why our Reconciliation journey is at the core of our commitment to creating an inclusive movement.   


The Road Ahead

Our journey begins by building up our organizations self-awareness to first identify where we truly stand: through auditing, listening to our people, and investigating our past. This is underway as we support our organization's learning and familiarity with conversations around Reconciliation in Canada, and what that means for each of us. While knowledge and awareness increases our maturity, we must co-create the path forward with Indigenous peoples. Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, mutual respect and trustworthy relationships are a key part of moving forward. We therefore embark on listening, learning, and honest reflection early in this process to positively contribute to the Reconciliation journey in this shared place we call home.   


Scouts Canada’s Commitment to Reconciliation

On June 7th, 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. 

Our Reconciliation Journey Ahead 

Reconciliation is defined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as the process of “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this country.’  We continue to refer to Reconciliation as a journey because rather than an end state, it describes the process of a relationship; and we will need to learn and adapt throughout this process to improve the relationship. 

The roadmap lays out the intended activities and milestones along our journey, but it’s important to know that dependent on the guidance and insight we gain along the way, our goal to form meaningful and appropriate partnerships with Indigenous communities may evolve and change.  



Prepare Your Learning Journey

As our organization reviews our policies, procedures, and programs, and partners with Indigenous advisors at a strategic level, we will all be involved in this journey. We invite you to join us in preparing to design a more inclusive, positive, and self-aware future that benefits us all. The best first step you can take is to become more aware of the Reconciliation movement and why it is important to all of us. 


Chief Joseph’s Message to All Canadians 


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

A Past-Present-Future Resource Guide

First Nation Child and Family Caring Society  

What is ‘Indigenous’? 

What is Reconciliation and What it is not?  

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.  

Start your Section’s Reconciliation Journey

Youth are the future of Scouting and of Canada, and it’s important that we engage them in our reconciliation journey as well.  We will continue to develop new program resources to help our youth understand what reconciliation means in Canada, and how they can take an active role in making Scouts Canada more inclusive.  

We encourage Scouters to work with their Sections to recognize important Indigenous dates and anniversary, and incorporate activities into their programs appropriately.   

Upcoming Listening Sessions


Truth and Reconciliation Week – Sept 27 – Oct. 1, 2021 

As an organization undergoing our own journey to understand our impact on Indigenous communities in Canada, we encourage Sections to participate in an activity that builds their understanding of Canada's broader Reconciliation journey and support them in their own learning.   


Scouts Canada T&R Week Program Guide 2021


Additional Section Resources  

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.  


Important Dates to raise Awareness (2021) 
  • June – National Indigenous History Month  
  • June 21 – Indigenous Peoples Day (Summer Solstice) 
  • August 10 – International Day of the World's Indigenous People 
  • September 27 – October 1 – Truth & Reconciliation Week 
  • September 30 – Truth & Reconciliation Day (Orange Shirt Day) 
  • October 11 - Thanksgiving  
  • November 1-7 (Ontario) - Treaties Recognition Week  
  • November 7 – Inuit Day  
  • November 11 – Remembrance Day  
  • November 16 – Louis Riel Day 

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