(Winnipeg) The Manitoba government has signed an agreement to open access to death certificates for Indigenous children who died in residential schools.

The agreement allows the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation to request the documents from the Civil Registry and better understand what happened in the schools. Until now, families had access to the documents, while researchers and other stakeholders had to obtain extraordinary authorization for any document.

Stephanie Scoot, the center’s chief executive, says every piece of alumni information helps show the truth.

Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says it’s important for people to learn more and talk about the children who attended residential schools.

Government Services Minister James Teitsma said the memorandum responds to one of the calls to action contained in the report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released eight years ago.

An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools for more than a century in Canada, and the commission’s report says many suffered abuse.