Ottawa, Ontario – On July 26, 2023, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) announced the approval of the Final Settlement Agreement that was reached by the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Moushoom and Trout class action plaintiffs, with the support and collaboration of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. The landmark agreement, totalling over $23 billion, will compensate First Nations children and families who experienced discrimination through the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.
“There are many people to thank for helping us achieve this significant milestone,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, the lead negotiator for the AFN. “First and foremost, I extend my heartfelt thanks to our courageous Representative Plaintiffs – Ashley Bach, Karen Osachoff, Melissa Walterson, Noah Buffalo-Jackson, Carolyn Buffalo and Richard Jackson, as well as the Trout and Moushoom plaintiffs. I thank the Chiefs in every First Nation territory who provided direction to the AFN. My respect to former AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine as well as Dr. Cindy Blackstock, who started this advocacy decades ago, and led us down this path in a good way. A big megwetch to members of the AFN Executive Committee, past and current. First Nations leadership at all levels has shown our collective determination to pursue compensation for discrimination and to get results for First Nations children and families during this long process. I thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his willingness to ensure we reached a settlement.”
In April 2023, the First Nations-in-Assembly passed Resolution 04/2023, Revised Final Settlement Agreement on Compensation for First Nations Children and Families, in support of the revised Final Settlement Agreement. “We are another step closer to compensation flowing to affected children and families,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse. The next step following the CHRT approval is presenting the Final Settlement Agreement to the Federal Court of Canada for approval, expected to take place in October 2023. Compensation to eligible First Nations children and families is anticipated to begin in 2024.
The revised settlement agreement, which addresses concerns expressed by the CHRT last year and aligns with the direction provided by the First Nations-in-Assembly by resolution in December 2022, now totals over $23 billion in compensation.
Following its approval by First Nations-in-Assembly, the agreement was resubmitted to the CHRT, who issued their approval through a letter of decision on July 26, 2023. “I acknowledge the dedication and effort of the CHRT panel who has overseen this case for over 15 years, including the work of Mr. Réjean Bélanger, who passed before seeing this process conclude,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse.
“AFN staff and Legal Counsel were instrumental to reaching this stage,” added Regional Chief Woodhouse. “They have worked tirelessly with technicians and other experts to make this the best agreement possible. They’ve negotiated in the spirit of unity to reach this stage, and we are all very proud of what we presented to the CHRT.”
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Assembly of First Nations
Senior Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations