Globe and Mail

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives at a news conference in Ottawa on Dec. 12, 2016. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a committee of indigenous leaders and cabinet ministers has been set up to work on establishing Canada’s new relationship with Aboriginal Peoples.

Trudeau says meetings will take place with aboriginal leaders each year to develop policies on shared priorities, with cabinet members taking part at least twice a year.

Trudeau met this morning with the leaders of three national indigenous organizations on the anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.

The government is also setting up an interim board of directors as a precursor to a National Council for Reconciliation, and is providing $10-million to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

The commission, led by Murray Sinclair, Manitoba’s first indigenous judge, issued 94 sweeping recommendations after spending six years examining the legacy of Canada’s residential school system.

The commission arose from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, reached after survivors took the federal government and churches to court with the support of the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit organizations.

Sinclair, now an independent senator, is expected to mark the anniversary of the report’s release in the upper chamber later today.

Trudeau says progress is underway on 41 of the 45 recommendations that are under federal or shared jurisdiction.

Hearings are expected to begin next spring in the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls – one of the recommendations enacted by the Liberal government.

“Last year, I committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Today, we take further steps on the journey of reconciliation,” Trudeau told a news conference in the foyer of the House of Commons.

“While much more remains to be done, I believe that we are making real progress towards renewing our relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”