$20-B final settlement on First Nations child welfare

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Compensation for First Nations children and families who experienced discrimination in the Child and Family Services system is expected to flow next year, following a $20-billion final settlement agreement with the federal government.

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Compensation for First Nations children and families who experienced discrimination in the Child and Family Services system is expected to flow next year, following a $20-billion final settlement agreement with the federal government.

Assembly of First Nations Manitoba regional chief Cindy Woodhouse announced the settlement deal in a news release on Monday. It is subject to approval by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court.

The AFN, the federal government and other parties signed a historic agreement-in-principle in December 2021 outlining $20 billion in compensation for First Nations children and families impacted by the discriminatory funding practices of the federal CFS program and its improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES First Nations children deserve to be surrounded by love and live free of discriminatory government policy, says Assembly of First Nations regional chief Cindy Woodhouse.

The parties also signed an agreement-in-principle to reform the program, outlining an additional $19.8 billion. Efforts toward a final agreement on long-term reform continue, the AFN release said.

Details on compensation eligibility and the application process will be made available at a later date.

The final settlement agreement will be filed with the tribunal for approval in the coming weeks. A motion to approve the settlement is scheduled to be heard at the Federal Court in September. The agreement will include a distribution protocol and outline specifics on who will be eligible, among other details, the release said.

“First Nations children deserve to be surrounded by love and live free of discriminatory government policy, and after three decades of advocacy and months of negotiations, I’m proud to say on behalf of the AFN that we have reached another historic milestone for our children and their and families” Woodhouse said in the release.

“We’ve held our children in our hearts and prayers throughout negotiations, reaching an agreement that we believe fairly upholds the 2019 orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and broadens the scope of First Nations children and families eligible to seek compensation where they experienced discrimination in the federal First Nations Child and Family Services program and the narrow implementation of Jordan’s Principle.”

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