What We Have Learned

What is reconciliation? Reconciliation requires a good understanding of the past and present, acknowledging harm, and meaningful apologies. It also requires engaging with Indigenous communities and respectful relationships at the individual and nation levels. Key also is equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and thriving Indigenous families, youth, cultures, and languages. Lastly, reconciliation means respect for the natural world around us. This is an evolving description of what we learned about reconciliation. 

The Canadian Reconciliation Barometer measures progress of non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples’ shared journey toward reconciliation. The goal of this report is to showcase perceptions of 13 indicators of reconciliation progress in 2022, and how these have (and haven’t) changed since 2021. The 2022 data is based on nationally representative survey responses of 1,034 Indigenous and 2,140 non-Indigenous people in 6 regions.

What are priority areas for reconciliation efforts? Indigenous peoples still don’t think Canada is making progress on Apologies, Respect for the Natural World, Indigenous Thriving, Systemic Equality, Representation and Leadership, Nation-to-Nation Relationships, and Personal Equality—Personal Equality being the worst.

Do people understand the harm? Compared to in 2021, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents reported a better understanding of the harm government policies, such as Residential Schools, have caused to Indigenous peoples. However, Indigenous respondents continued to report a deeper understanding than did non-Indigenous respondents.

Has this harm been appropriately acknowledged? In 2022, Indigenous respondents continued to believe that the groups that have harmed Indigenous people have not taken full responsibility. Non-Indigenous respondents were slightly more inclined to think groups have done enough.

Are we building the relationships needed to move toward reconciliation? Non-Indigenous respondents increasingly agree with Indigenous respondents that governments do not respect Indigenous nations. And non-Indigenous respondents were less confident in 2022 than in 2021 that interpersonal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are mutually respectful, bringing non-Indigenous views in line with how Indigenous people see those relationships. However, this awareness has not spurred non-Indigenous respondents to engage with Indigenous causes and communities.

Are we reconciling with nature? Non-Indigenous respondents now feel as strongly as Indigenous respondents do that the natural world is not being adequately protected.

How do regions differ? In 2022, Indigenous respondents tended to perceive the least progress in the Prairies and Ontario, but these were also the regions with the smallest gap in perceptions between the two groups. Respondents in the North were most positive, but we had fewer respondents in that region and included no quotas, meaning our estimates for that region are less reliable than others.

Overall findings: Reconciliation is a process that takes time. Though we would not expect to see major improvements in the experiences and therefore perceptions of Indigenous peoples over a single year, we did find a small shift in perceptions among non-Indigenous respondents between 2021 and 2022. Non-Indigenous respondents’ views have become more aligned with Indigenous respondents’ views. This increased agreement in views might lead to more support for government action on Indigenous issues.

How many people are aware of Residential Schools? 90% of non-Indigenous respondents and 94% of Indigenous respondents had previously read or heard about Residential Schools, up from 65% and 87% in 2021.