The federal government has signed an historic settlement agreement to compensate the First Nations children and families harmed by underfunded child welfare programs.
This agreement included a $20-billion compensation, which is being described as an “historic settlement agreement – the largest in Canadian history.”
After the settlement agreement is brought to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal it will be brought to the Federal Court of Canada for final approval.
“While no amount of compensation can make up for the grief and trauma that the actions of the Government of Canada caused to First Nations children and families, this final settlement agreement is an important step forward to acknowledging the harm done and beginning the hard work of healing,” Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, said in a statement.
Historic harms require historic reparations. That’s why we remain committed, with First Nation partners, to make sure this agreement is successful. Every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed surrounded by family, culture, & community.
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) July 4, 2022
“The agreement ensures fair compensation for survivors and their families who suffered because of the discriminatory underfunding of services,” reads the statement.
On Monday, the settlement agreement was signed by the federal government and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) — along with plaintiffs in two class-action cases.
If approved, the process to implement the settlement will begin.
Groups eligible for compensation are:
- Children who were removed from their homes under the First Nations Child and Family Services program between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022,
- Children who were impacted by the government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017
- Children who did not receive or were delayed in receiving an essential public service or product between April 1, 1991 and December 11, 2007
- Caregiving parents or caregiving grandparents of the children above may also be eligible for compensation
“This settlement will provide meaningful payments to tens of thousands of affected children and their families to help them rebuild their lives,” Sotos LLP, Kugler Kandestin LLP and Miller Titerlie + Company, three of the law firms representing the plaintiffs said. “The process of applying for compensation will be addressed by the courts in the coming months if the settlement is approved.”