Final settlement agreement on compensation signed for First Nations children and families

News release

July 4, 2022 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Today, Canada, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and the plaintiffs in the Moushoom and Trout class actions announced that a final settlement agreement has been signed, regarding compensation for First Nations children and families harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and the federal government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle. Together, the Parties arrived at this historic settlement agreement – the largest in Canadian history – which recognizes harm to First Nations children and their families. The agreement ensures fair compensation for survivors and their families who suffered because of the discriminatory underfunding of services.

To reach this agreement, Canada, the Assembly of First Nations and counsel representing the plaintiffs in the Moushoom and Trout class actions have worked collaboratively and tirelessly over the past six months since announcing Agreements-in-Principle. Plaintiffs and their counsel took the lead on proposing a structure and roll-out of compensation that best meet the needs of the class members.

The next step is to bring the final settlement agreement to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal asking for the Tribunal's confirmation that the settlement satisfies its orders on compensation. The final settlement agreement will then be brought to the Federal Court of Canada for approval. If approved, the process to implement the settlement will begin.

The agreement provides $20 billion and, once approved by the Federal Court and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the following groups will be eligible for compensation:

  • children who were removed from their homes under the First Nations Child and Family Services program between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022
  • children who were impacted by the government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017
  • children who did not receive or were delayed in receiving an essential public service or product between April 1, 1991 and December 11, 2007
  • caregiving parents or caregiving grandparents of the children above may also be eligible for compensation

With respect to long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program, Parties are working hard at reaching a final settlement agreement to ensure a solid, reformed system to end the discrimination found by the Tribunal. On April 1, 2022, Canada implemented immediate measures to help reduce the number of First Nations children in care, and to provide additional supports to First Nations children, youth and families. These investments, amounting to approximately $2.7 billion to date, represent an 80% increase in funding from 2020-21. They include increased funding in all provinces and the Yukon Territory for prevention, for First Nations representative services, and for the expansion of post-majority care services for young adults formerly in care up to their 26th birthday.

In reaching a resolution on compensation and in continuing the work to reform the First Nations Child and Family Services program, the shared goal is to prioritize the well-being of First Nations children and their families. Canada stands with First Nation partners in the commitment to make sure that a better system is in place for current and future generations.

Quotes

"Historic harms require historic reparations. While no amount of compensation can make up for the grief and trauma that the actions of the Government of Canada caused to First Nations children and families, this final settlement agreement is an important step forward to acknowledging the harm done and beginning the hard work of healing. I am hopeful that the court process for approving the agreement will be quick, and people and families can have the certainty and resolution they have asked for. Canada must never repeat these discriminatory actions. We must all work together to ensure that every First Nations child has equal opportunity to succeed, surrounded by family, culture, and community."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

"While this is an important and necessary step forward to compensate those hurt by discriminatory funding practices, it has come at the cost of terrible pain and suffering. Nothing we can do will ever erase the harm that has been caused, or give back the years children lost with their families, languages and cultures. I hope that this agreement on compensation will bring us closer to a future where all First Nations children can grow and thrive with their families and communities, as we continue to work with partners to reform child and family services."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations

"Truth and reconciliation challenges all of us to think and act in new ways. Our journey will be filled with moments such as this where, as a government, we need to recognize where injustices and harm have been experienced by First Nations children and families. This agreement presents a renewed opportunity to work together to build a positive, healing future for First Nations children and families in Canada. I believe that if we move forward together―with openness and determination―we can build a better future with Indigenous Peoples."

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"After three decades of advocacy, and months of negotiations, the AFN is pleased with reaching terms of this historic compensation agreement for our children and families impacted by the discriminatory First Nations Child and Family Services Program and the narrow implementation of Jordan's Principle. First Nations children have always deserved to be treated fairly and equitably, and this $20 billion compensation settlement recognizes that this was not the policy nor the practice. We look forward to its ratification by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court, so that compensation can begin to reach the children and families impacted."

Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse

"While money can never compensate for the loss of a childhood or the pain of family separation, this settlement will provide meaningful payments to tens of thousands of affected children and their families to help them rebuild their lives. The process of applying for compensation will be addressed by the courts in the coming months if the settlement is approved."

Sotos LLP, Kugler Kandestin LLP and Miller Titerlie + Company, three of the law firms representing the class

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Alison.Murphy@sac-isc.gc.ca

Justine Leblanc
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
justine.leblanc@rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
(613) 992-6568
Chantalle.Aubertin@justice.gc.ca

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
kreid@afn.ca

David Sterns*
Partner
Office: 416.977.5229
Cell: 647.242.6911
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1200
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8
www.sotosclassactions.com
*Practising through a professional corporation

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
media@sac-isc.gc.ca

CIRNAC Media Relations:
Email: RCAANC.Media.CIRNAC@sac-isc.gc.ca
Phone: 819-934-2302

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

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