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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ottawa ordered to compensate First Nations children impacted by on-reserve child welfare system

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, and Cindy Blackstock, head of the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society. The groups filed the original human rights complaint that led to Friday's ruling. (Canadian Press)

Ottawa must pay potentially billions of dollars in compensation to First Nations children harmed by the on-reserve child welfare system, following a ruling Friday by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that also called for payments to some of their parents and grandparents.
The tribunal ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 to each child — the maximum allowed under the Canadian Human Rights Act —  who was apprehended or taken from their homes on reserve, no matter what the reason.

The ruling covers all children in the care of the on-reserve child welfare system at any point from Jan.1, 2006, to a date to be determined by the tribunal.

'Racism, colonial practices and discrimination'

Cindy Blackstock, who heads the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, said this latest ruling shows Ottawa learned little from what happened in residential schools and during the Sixties Scoop era.


"They knew better and did not do better resulting in tragedy for First Nations children, families and [First] Nations," said Blackstock in a statement.


"We must demand Canada stop its piecemeal approach to remedying cross cutting inequalities in First Nations public services by fully implementing the Spirit Bear plan to end all of the inequalities once and for all."

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