Federal government appeals decision to compensate First Nations children
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OTTAWA – The federal government will appeal a Federal Court ruling upholding a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) order demanding that Ottawa pay billions of dollars to First Nations children.
Last month, Federal Court Judge Paul Favel ruled that Ottawa had failed to demonstrate that the court’s decision to force the government to compensate every First Nations child unnecessarily removed from their home since 2006 was unreasonable .
The case will now be transferred to the Federal Court of Appeal.
In 2019, the court held that Ottawa “willfully and recklessly” discriminated against First Nations children living on reserve by underfunding child and family services. This has led to children being removed from their communities and placed in public programs.
He is asking Ottawa to pay $ 40,000, the maximum the court can award, to each child and their parents and grandparents.
The government will not appeal a second CHRT decision that expands Jordan’s Principle – a legal requirement of the federal government to provide necessary services to children, if intergovernmental disputes hamper adequate funding.
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that a decision was about to be made and reaffirmed that the government will always compensate First Nations children.
“We are committed to compensating Indigenous people who suffered harm as children in child and family services. In addition, we are committed to working with partners to end this nefarious system and ensure that at-risk children can stay in their community, in their culture and be cared for by their community. This is the way forward for reconciliation and this is what we are committed to doing, ”he said in Holland.
Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaw lawyer and chair of Indigenous governance at Ryerson University, reacted to the decision.
“It’s so incredulous. I mean, whatever this prime minister said, “there is no more important relationship and of course we are going to compensate these children”, and during the election campaign, “we are not fighting children in court. “… are,” she told CTV News Channel.
“There wouldn’t even have been this compensation order if Canada had complied years ago with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to end discrimination against First Nations children.
As for the next steps, according to Palmater, “apparently we are going to court again”.
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