(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse today responded to news from the Government of Canada related to ongoing negotiations for compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle and systemic reform to the program.
The AFN, together with parties to a March 2019 class action lawsuit and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) complaint, are negotiating the details of compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle and systemic reform to the program.
The Government of Canada today stated that up to $40 billion would be committed. Any proposed global settlement is subject to the completion of formal agreements and judicial approval.
“I am committed to ensuring discrimination against our children and families in the child welfare system ends now,” said AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, who has led negotiations for AFN. “The AFN’s focus is also on a path forward where our children and families are respected, finally receive the supports they need to thrive, and this includes fundamental reform of First Nations child and family services and the full implementation of Jordan’s Principle. This up to $40 billion settlement is a result of the long-term advocacy of Assembly of First Nations fighting for First Nations children and their families. This is a concrete example of what you can do when you are at the table instead of fighting in court”.
“The magnitude of the proposed compensation package is a testament to how many of our children were ripped from their families and communities,” said AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “Money does not mean justice, however, it signals that we are on the healing path forward as we finalize long term reform to ensure we meet our vision of, children surrounded by the love and care of their families living in safe and vibrant communities.”
In 2016 the CHRT ruled that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children in the FNCFS Program. In 2019, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay compensation for First Nations children and their family members impacted by discriminatory practices and approaches of the FNCFS Program and its narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. That compensation order, however, did not include First Nations children in the system since 1991.
The AFN filed a class action lawsuit in January 2020 aimed at securing compensation for harms inflicted on First Nations children and families under the federal government’s discriminatory FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle and to seek compensation for First Nations children involved in the system since 1991 who were not included in the 2019 CHRT compensation order.
“I acknowledge the courage of the many First Nation individuals and families who have shared their experiences in the child welfare system and the leaders who have pressed for many years for compensation,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse. “Today I commend the commitment of Ministers Hadju and Miller and the Prime Minister for working with the AFN on fundamental reform of child and family services.”
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
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Assembly of First Nations
Assembly of First Nations