Canada Unveils Revised Over $17 Billion Compensation Deal for Indigenous Children

Thu Apr 06 2023
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OTTAWA: Canada’s federal government has reached a revised deal of $17.35 billion with an Indigenous people group. The agreement concerns compensation to the children and families of First Nations for the decades of suffering caused by a welfare system that is discriminatory in nature.

The deal’s terms, as disclosed by Canada’s government statement on Wednesday, were revised to increase eligibility for compensation along with a rise in the initial amount agreed upon last year.

The deal, which affects about 300,000 First Nations kids, youth, and kin, seeks to settle a more than 15-year-old complaint brought to a human rights tribunal against Canada over its financial aid for child welfare who live on reserves.

In 2016, the tribunal ruled that the federal government earmarked lesser funds for children and family services of Indigenous people than for others, whereby more Indigenous children were pushed into foster care.

It is the federal government that is responsible for providing funds for child welfare services for children who live on First Nations reserves. On the other hand, each province funds child welfare services for non-native children and native children who do not live on reserves; thus, a two-tiered system exists.

Canada’s federal court must approve the deal

A group for Canada’s biggest Indigenous group, The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, along with the federal government, will now aim to confirm the agreement at the tribunal.

After confirmation, it requires the mandatory approval of a federal court prior to its implementation.

Cindy Woodhouse, the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba’s regional chief, said the $17.35 billion (C$23) billion final settlement deal is a long overdue turning point for many thousands of families.

Compared to other Canadians, the country’s Indigenous people have higher levels of poverty and a lower life expectancy and are more frequently the victims of addiction, violent crime, and incarceration.

After coming to power in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to repair ties with Indigenous Canadians.

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