ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – Child and Family Services Compensation and Fundamental Reform

Press Release

ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – Child and Family Services Compensation and Fundamental Reform

SUMMARY:

  • The AFN is participating in negotiations for a global settlement with the Government of Canada on compensation and long-term reforms to the federal First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and Jordan’s Principle.
  • The Government of Canada announced December 13, 2021 it has budgeted up to $40 billion to settle the class action lawsuit and the human rights complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal related to discrimination against First Nations children.
  • The negotiations on a proposed settlement are ongoing and the completion of formal agreements will be subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Canada.
  • Once an Agreement-in-Principle has been concluded, the AFN will schedule regional meetings regarding long-term reforms to ensure all aspects of a reformed FNCFS Program will be responsive to and reflect regional interests.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is pleased to share with Chiefs and First Nations a major step toward compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle. The AFN, together with parties to a March 2019 class action lawsuit and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) proceedings, are engaged in settlement discussions. The Government of Canada has budgeted up to $40 billion to implement a Final Settlement Agreement on compensation and long-term reforms of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle.

The parties are finalizing an Agreement-in-Principle that will guide ongoing discussions toward reaching a Final Settlement Agreement. The Final Agreement(s) will require the approval of the Federal Court of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The Final Settlement Agreements will outline the process in which direct compensation will be paid to the survivors of the federal government’s discriminatory practices.

A framework will be shared with AFN Chiefs in Assembly for discussion and decision and will include regional processes and dialogue with First Nations.

This major milestone for First Nations children and families was achieved by the long-standing advocacy of First Nations children and families, the AFN and its allies. AFN Regional Chief Woodhouse shared an update on this matter with AFN Chiefs in Assembly at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly last week.

In 2016, the CHRT ruled that the Government of Canada was discriminating against First Nations children in the FNCFS Program. In 2019 at the request of the AFN, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay compensation for First Nations children and their family members impacted by discriminatory practices and approaches of the FNCFS Program and its narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.

The AFN filed a class action lawsuit in January 2020 aimed at securing compensation for harms inflicted on all First Nations children and families under the federal government’s discriminatory FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle. This included seeking compensation for First Nations children involved in the system since 1991 who were not included in the 2019 CHRT compensation order. The proposed settlement will allow for compensation to all children affected.

The AFN will share additional information when available. For more information please contact [email protected]

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