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Federal government appeals First Nations children’s compensation order but initiates resolution talks

 | Local News

Federal government appeals First Nations children’s compensation order but initiates resolution talks

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OTTAWA – The federal government will appeal a Federal Court ruling upholding a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) order requiring Ottawa to compensate First Nations children, but plans to resolve the dispute at the outside the courts.

Late Friday evening, the government filed a notice of appeal alleging that the Federal Court erred in concluding that the CHRTC acted “reasonably” in ordering full compensation for the children, their parents or their grandparents for having been unnecessarily removed from their community since 2006.

Moments later, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu released a statement noting that Ottawa and Indigenous groups on the other side of the lawsuit agreed to “sit down immediately” to reach a resolution on the matter. ‘by December 2021.

The appeal is active but the government will suspend the dispute for two months.

The two parties will seek to reach agreement on the following: provide “fair and equitable compensation” to First Nations children living on reserve and in the Yukon who have been removed from their homes by child welfare agencies and to the family ; achieve a “long-term reform” of the First Nations and Family Services program; and providing funds for “the purchase and / or construction of capital assets” that support the delivery of child and family services.

Last month, Federal Court Judge Paul Favel ruled that Ottawa had failed to demonstrate that the court’s 2006 decision was unreasonable.

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 is not appealing 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.


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