Framework issued for responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #34 on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

News Release Release Date: October 10, 2018 10:30 a.m.

The Canada FASD Research Network has issued Truth & Reconciliation Call to Action #34: A Framework for Action. Call to Action #34 requests that outcomes be improved for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the criminal justice system, while addressing the impact of residential schools and working towards reconciliation.

“FASD is a lifelong disability and a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals exposed to alcohol during pregnancy,” said Dr. Michelle Stewart, University of Regina Associate Professor, Justice Studies and Strategic Research Lead Canada FASD Research Network. “The 12 recommendations identified in A Framework for Action, provide a roadmap for how to address and respond to the needs of individuals with FASD when they are involved with the justice system.”

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its report, which includes 94 Calls to  Action. Action Item #34 calls upon the governments of Canada, the provinces, and territories to undertake reforms to the criminal justice system to better address the needs of offenders with FASD.  While FASD is found in all communities, the TRC noted the Residential School program contributed to past and ongoing experiences of trauma. These experiences of trauma can contribute to alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

“I see A Framework for Action as a starting point for a national conversation about FASD, along with racism, colonialism, inequality, and trauma—to talk, act and bring about change. Without action, inequalities will only continue to expand and intensify,” said Stewart. “We hope that these items help to bring about necessary changes in education, access, training, justice, evaluation, and community support.”

Truth & Reconciliation Call to Action #34: A Framework for Action was created by a team of people who live in Treaty 4 Territory in Saskatchewan and on unceded Coast Salish Territory in British Columbia.

The document is available at


About CanFASD
The Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network (CanFASD) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, with collaborators, researchers and partners across the nation. It is Canada’s first comprehensive national Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) research network. Working in partnership across the country – CanFASD is collaborating with national entities concerned with FASD, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and NeuroDevNet. CanFASD researcher are currently leading 25 major projects related to FASD prevention, intervention and diagnostics.

About The University of Regina
The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 15,000 students study within the University's 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees. In 2017, the University of Regina was ranked in the Top 200 Best Young Universities in the world by Times Higher Education.


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