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Residents are in favour of more education, official apologies and conferences, but are divided on the question of monetary compensation for victims.

Vancouver, BC – People in British Columbia are decidedly supportive of policies that would foster a deeper understanding of the effects of the residential school system, a new Insights West poll has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample shows that more than two-in-five British Columbians (44%) are familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—a fact-finding group established as part of the settlement between the Canadian government, the churches that operated residential schools, and victims of abuse.

The poll shows that 42 per cent of British Columbians believe society as a whole needs to do more to help Aboriginals who were part of the residential school system. A similar proportion of residents also want the federal government (40%) and the provincial government (37%) to play a broader role in dealing with this matter.

When it comes to specific ideas that have been discussed during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s activities, more than two thirds of British Columbians support providing more education for young Canadians on the impact of residential schools (73%) as well as issuing official government apologies to victims (70%).

In June 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered an apology for Canada’s role in the operation of the residential schools to former students, their families, and communities. An estimated 80,000 former students are living today.

A majority of British Columbians are also in favour of having more media coverage about what happened (62%) and holding more conferences to inform people about residential schools (56%).

“The mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to learn the truth and inform all Canadians about what transpired at residential schools,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “It is important to note that British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to echo the call for more education, media coverage and conferences.”

Views are more nuanced on providing more monetary compensation to victims of residential schools (46% support the idea, 43% oppose it). British Columbians in the highest household income demographic are more likely to oppose any additional economic reparations (49%).

Across Metro Vancouver, 40 per cent of respondents were unaware of the “reconciliation walk” that took place on September 22 in Vancouver. The remaining residents saw, heard or read about the event (58%) or actively participated in it (2%).


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.


About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 26 to October 2, 2013, among 704 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.


For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West

Photograph: David Stanley