In an Ontario courtroom in February 2017, after a decade of litigation plagued by divisionary and often pointless arguments, Justice Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court brought some resolution and the promise of solace to the thousands of Indigenous people who, as children, were removed from their families and communities in what is now known as the “SixtiesScoop”. Sally Martel, previously known by her adopted name of Marcia Brown, is a First Nation woman from northeastern Ontario raised through adoption by a non-First Nation family. She asserted that she, and others sharing her experience, had an act of “identity genocide” committed against them and that she has suffered as a result.
Justice Belobaba agreed, and in his decision, declared that the government failed in its “duty of care” in not protecting the identity of Indigenous children placed through adoption or foster care.
The Foundation and its purposes as defined by the settlement agreement were open to considerable interpretation. Here was an opportunity to give direction to the Foundation through the authentic voice and direction of survivors themselves. This was celebrated as a chance for the empowerment of those who thus far were terribly disempowered through their experience as children of the Sixties Scoop.
Between September 22, 2019 and February 15, 2020, the board appointed Engagement team hosted an online engagement survey and ten Sixties Scoop Survivor Healing Foundation Engagement sessions. The Engagement Process represents the best efforts of a small team who traveled Canada—East, West and North—with great ambition to capture and reflect the will of a broad, diverse and dispersed community.
We are honoured that hundreds of survivors joined us to share their voices in person and online. It is our principle that all survivor voices are heard, valued and respected and we stayed true to that by engaging self-identifying survivors who lived on and off reserves, status, non-status, Inuit, First Nations and Métis from across Canada and elsewhere.
There were 525 participants that attended the in-person engagement sessions.
- 85.3% of attendees felt comfortable expressing their views at the session.
- 85.2% of attendees felt they were heard at the engagement session.
- 97% of attendees felt their background was respected at the session.
- 90.7% of attendees felt the engagement session was meaningful.
- 90.4% of attendees felt satisfied overall with the engagement session.