Analysis of Applications and Canada’s Decisions under Article 12 – 20130328 Update


We have seen that Canada issued periodic updates of its decisions regarding applications to add institutions to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) under Article 12.

The last available update (March 28, 2013) concerns 1,502 institutions. The original IRSSA included 104 (6.9%) of these institutions;1Canada recognized St. Joseph’s (Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories) as an Indian Residential School for 1903-1957; thereafter, Canada deemed St. Joseph’s to have been operated by a religious organization. another 8 (0.5%) institutions were added to the IRSSA under Article 12.

“Insufficient Information”

As of March 28, 2013, Canada was refusing to recognize 247 (16.4%) institutions as Indian Residential Schools due to “Insufficient Information”. Canada would add none of these institutions to the IRSSA by the time the applications process under Article 12 was closed in July 2015. Table 1 presents the sufficiency/insufficiency of information about an institution by the province/territory in which the institution was located. There was no statistically significant association between the two variables, Χ12=19.8, p=0.07.2For this analysis, we discard applications connected to 28 institutions whose locations were unknown and 9 institutions located outside Canada. Within this sample, the overall rate of information insufficiency decreased slightly to 15% (220/1465).

Table 1. Locations of institutions submitted under Article 12 and Canada’s assessment of the sufficiency of information contained in applications.
Alberta 159 32 191
British Columbia 235 37 272
Manitoba 189 35 224
New Brunswick 10 0 10
Newfoundland and Labrador 17 9 26
Northwest Territories 65 5 70
Nova Scotia 12 2 14
Nunavut 48 3 51
Ontario 139 24 163
Prince Edward Island 4 0 4
Québec 162 35 197
Saskatchewan 199 36 235
Yukon 6 2 8
Total 1245 220 1465

Ineligible institutions

As of March 28, 2013, the federal government indicated there was sufficient information for it to decide against adding 1,133 institutions in Canada to the IRSSA.3From our intitial list of 1,502 institutions, we arrive at this figure of 1,133 by discarding institutions (1) already included in the original IRSSa; (2) added to the IRSSA under Article 12; (3) located outside Canada; and/or (4) about which there was insufficient information.

Canada ruled nearly three-quarters (813/1133 or 71.8%) of these institutions ineligible because the operator was not the federal government. Nearly a third (356/1133 or 31.4%) of these institutions were ruled ineligible because the program was not a residential school. A few institutions (36/1133 or 3.2%) were ruled ineligible because of both their operator and program.

Table 2 presents the operator(s) of institutions that Canada ruled ineligible for addition to the IRSSA under Article 12.4Some institutions were operated jointly, for example, by both the province/territory and a religious organization.

Table 2. Operators of institutions that Canada ruled ineligible for addition to the IRSSA under Article 12.
Operator N
Province/Territory 483
Religious Organization 246
Private Organization 93
Band 32
No Federal Involvement 5
NA 320

Table 3 presents the programs of institutions that Canada ruled ineligible for addition to the IRSSA under Article 12.

Table 3. Programs of institutions that Canada ruled ineligible for addition to the IRSSA under Article 12.
Program N
Day School 253
Foster/Home Placement 44
Hospital/Sanitarium 29
Penitentiary 5
Other (e.g. “No Residence Identified” 25
NA 356


The IRSSA excluded Indian Residential Schools operated by provincial/territorial governments. Canada’s update (March 28, 2013) of applications under Article 12  included 462 provincially/territorially-operated institutions whose programs were left unclassified.5The provincial/territorial government partnered with a religious organization to operate 31 (6.7%) of these institutions. One institution was operated jointly by a provincial/territorial government, a religious organization, and a band; one institution was operated jointly by a provincial/territorial government and a private organization.

Our list of these provincially/territorially-operated institutions includes many institutions with names that refer simply to a “school” of some sort, with terms like “elementary”, “junior high”, “high” and “secondary”. Fifteen institutions have names that suggest a live-in progam, with terms like “residence”, “residential”, “pensionnat” and “hostel”. Another fifteen institutions have names that suggest a live-in program for children and youth who ran afoul of the law, with terms like “training” and “correctional”.

The exact nature and role played by these 462 provincially/territorially-operated institutions in the lives of Indigenous children and families need further investigation.


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