Joint Statement by the Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on compensation for First Nations children

Statement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (November 25, 2019) – The Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Marc Miller, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Lametti, issued the following statement today on compensation for First Nations children:

“As the new Minister of Indigenous Services and newly re-appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, we want to clearly state that Canada agrees it must fairly and equitably compensate First Nations children who have been negatively impacted by child and family policies.  What we must do is seek an approach that will provide a fair and equitable resolution.

The Government of Canada is committed to seeking a comprehensive settlement on compensation that will ensure long-term benefits for individuals and families and enable community healing.

To that end, we will work with plaintiff’s counsel with the goal of moving forward with certification of the Xavier Moushoom and Jeremy Meawasige v. The Attorney General of Canada class action. This case seeks compensation for First Nations children who suffered as a result of underfunding of child and family services, and as a result of awaiting services under Jordan’s Principle. The class action model is designed to give individuals the chance to have their interests represented, to address the interests of all impacted individuals and to allow parties to arrive at an appropriate resolution of past harms.  

Through the CHRT, the Government of Canada, the First Nations Caring Society, and the Assembly of First Nations have achieved progress. It is now time to include all the parties and affected individuals in the discussions to obtain a global settlement that is fair and comprehensive. We also believe the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) compensation decision does not properly address all issues around appropriate compensation.  For instance, it only includes individuals impacted from 2006 onwards, while the proposed Moushoom class action goes back to 1991.

As such, Canada intends to pursue a judicial review of this CHRT ruling.

As a government, we have demonstrated our commitment to addressing long-standing child and family services needs of First Nations children and to working with partners on these matters. Canada continues to fully implement all other orders from the CHRT. We have reformed our funding approaches in First Nations child and family services; we introduced, passed and will implement a law to change how Indigenous child and family services are operated across the country and have fulfilled over 478,000 requests for necessary products, services and supports under Jordan’s Principle. This work is ongoing as we develop and implement funding programs that will ensure the needs and best interests of First Nations children are met.

Our goal is to resolve as many important issues, like compensation, through discussions and collaboration with partners. Progress has been made on that basis and we will personally engage on this extremely important issue to ensure this continues.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Kevin Deagle
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller,
Minister of Indigenous Services
873-354-0987

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-6568
Rachel.rappaport@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

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