Revised settlement agreement reached to compensate First Nations in Canada
A multibillion-dollar revised settlement was reached to compensate those harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations children and families, the Canadian federal government said on Wednesday.
Following the original settlement agreement, the revised final settlement agreement now includes a total of just over 23.34 billion Canadian dollars (around $17 billion), an increase of 3.34 billion Canadian dollars, said Indigenous Services Canada in a news release.
According to Tuesday morning's release, First Nations across Canada came together to discuss and support the revised settlement agreement, and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)'s First Nations-in-Assembly unanimously approved the draft revised settlement agreement.
The proposed revised settlement agreement, designed to fully meet the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT)'s compensation orders, will be submitted to CHRT for confirmation before being brought to the Federal Court for approval. If approved, the process to implement the settlement will begin, the release said.
"More than 300,000 First Nations children and families have been waiting decades for recognition of the harms done to them through discriminatory practices," said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse. She added that this final settlement agreement is a long overdue turning point for so many thousands of families.
AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society jointly launched a human-rights complaint in 2007 with allegations that Ottawa's underfunding of on-reserve child welfare services amounted to discrimination, and that First Nations children were denied equal access to support ranging from school supplies and medical equipment.
CHRT eventually ruled in the complainants' favor and last year the federal government offered to spend 20 billion Canadian dollars to reform the on-reserve child-welfare system and another 20 billion Canadian dollars on compensation.
(Cover: People dance in a circle as drummers play during a ceremony to honor residential school survivors and mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, September 30, 2021. /CFP)