The Sixties Scoop is a dark and painful chapter in Canada’s history. Between the 1960s and 1980s, Indigenous children were removed from their homes by child welfare authorities and many were placed in foster care or adopted out to non-Indigenous families. Filed in 2009, Brown is the most advanced Sixties Scoop class action brought against Canada for its failure to protect Aboriginal identity when children were placed in non-Indigenous adoptive or foster homes.
On February 1, 2017, Minister Bennett announced that Canada will launch negotiations towards a national resolution to Sixties Scoop litigation as the next step in Canada’s commitment to negotiate rather than litigate Childhood Claims. The Government of Canada and the parties have been working in close collaboration towards resolving the claims in a fair, compassionate, and respectful manner that promotes reconciliation and healing through a Federal Court dispute resolution process headed by Justice Michel M.J. Shore. The parties signed an Agreement-in-Principle in August 2017.
The Agreement-in-Principle represents a major milestone. Parties are working to finalize the agreement by the end of 2017, and will seek court approval through a fairness hearing targeted for Spring 2018.
The Agreement-in-Principle provides for a substantial investment in the creation of a Foundation for healing, wellness, language, culture and commemoration going forward as well as individual compensation to approved plaintiffs.
The key elements of the Agreement-in-Principle are as follows:
• An investment of up to $50M by the Government of Canada to establish a Foundation to enable change and reconciliation.
- The intent of the Foundation will be to provide access to education, healing and wellness and commemoration activities for communities and individuals and help ensure the preservation, protection and revitalization of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages and cultures in a way that is complementary to government programs.
- The exact mandate of the Foundation will be negotiated directly with the plaintiff representatives, their counsel, Federal Court Justice Michel M.J. Shore and representatives from Canada beginning in late October 2017.
• A minimum of $500M and a maximum of $750M in individual compensation for Status Indians and Inuit.
• $75M for legal fees. Plaintiffs' counsel have committed that they will not seek additional legal costs from the plaintiffs in order to ensure that compensation intended for plaintiffs is preserved for them. Additional funds will be included in the settlement agreement to cover administrative costs for the third party implementation of the agreement.
This is the first step in resolving the Sixties Scoop litigation. Canada is committed to working with other Indigenous individuals impacted by the Sixties Scoop and the provinces and territories who have already shown leadership in this area to resolve the remaining litigation.