News

FEDERAL WITHDRAWAL OF JUDICIAL REVIEW APPLICATION RESPECTING CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL ORDER

on January 26, 2022

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse says First Nations advocacy and leadership has been successful in securing a decision by the Government of Canada to withdraw its application for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s (Tribunal) ruling on capital assets funding for First Nations child and family services and Jordan’s Principle.

“This is another step in the right direction. I am pleased that Canada has withdrawn its appeal of the Tribunal’s order regarding the funding of capital assets,” said AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse. “We remain optimistic in view of Canada’s recent willingness to work with the AFN and interested parties to find the solutions needed to fix the broken child welfare system that has harmed so many First Nations children, youth and families.”

The Government of Canada announced today that it will ensure that First Nations have access to funding for the purchase and construction of capital assets in accordance with the Tribunal’s order to support the delivery of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and Jordan’s Principle.

“The tireless advocacy of First Nations, from coast to coast to coast, supported by the AFN through our work at the negotiation table, with all parties, has led to this decision by the federal government to withdraw its application for judicial review,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse.  “The AFN will continue working toward final agreements on compensation for the children and families impacted by Canada’s discriminatory practices, and the fundamental reforms necessary to change the system and ensure that discrimination does not happen again.  The focus must now be on the children and keeping families together and connected to their cultures, languages and homelands, which will ultimately be supported by ensuring First Nations have the space they need to deliver services to families safely.”

The AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties to the recently announced Agreements-in-Principle are currently working toward a final settlement agreement that could secure compensation to more than 200,000 First Nations children and youth who were removed from their homes and nations or denied services under Jordan’s Principle.  The Parties are also working towards a final agreement on long-term reform to end the discrimination against First Nations children and families. This is expected to include lasting changes to ensure that the discrimination does not recur and emphasize First Nations participation and control over the delivery of child and family services.

The AFN, together with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, filed a human rights complaint against the Government of Canada in 2007. The CHRT ruled in 2016 that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children by underfunding First Nations child and family services on-reserves and in its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information please contact:

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckFEDERAL WITHDRAWAL OF JUDICIAL REVIEW APPLICATION RESPECTING CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL ORDER

AFN Offers Condolences on the Passing of Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw (Earl Muldon)

on January 6, 2022

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald offered the following statement on the recent passing of Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw (Earl Muldon).

“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and its Executive Committee, I offer my most heartfelt and sincere condolences to the family of long-time Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw (Earl Muldon) following his recent passing and to the Wilp and Lax Yip of the Lax Seel of the Gitxsan Nation.  Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw was instrumental throughout his role in the 1997 landmark Supreme Court decision of the same name confirming rights and title in British Columbia, the largest case in Canadian history. This case created a precedent where First Nations title, laws and languages could sustain as evidence in the court of law. With that, his passing allows us to reflect on how we can stand up, protect and implement our own First Nations laws, languages and legal systems. I thank him for his unwavering leadership in the assertion of rights and their broad impacts for First Nations in British Columbia and across Canada. He will be surely missed, and his spirit and advocacy efforts will continue to live on for generations.”

Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw passed away on January 3, 2022 at the age of 85. Apart from his advocacy efforts, he was also a renowned artist and carver, whose artistry won him the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art in 2009, a B.C. Lifetime Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art, among many other accomplishments. He was named a Principal Companion to the Order of Canada in 2010.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Contact information:
Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Celso CercadoAFN Offers Condolences on the Passing of Gitxsan Simgiigyet-Hereditary Chief Delgamuukw (Earl Muldon)

AFN Bulletin: Agreements-in-Principle on Compensation and Long-Term Reform related to Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle

on January 4, 2022

SUMMARY: 

  • On December 31, 2021, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Government of Canada and other parties signed two Agreements-in-Principle (AIPs) outlining a framework toward reaching a global settlement to end discrimination in the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and Jordan’s Principle.
  • The total settlement package is valued at $40 billion. This includes a total of $20 billion that will be made available to compensate First Nations children and families impacted by the federal government’s discriminatory funding practices and $19.807 billion for fundamental reform to the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle to ensure the discriminatory aspects of these programs and that such discrimination does not recur in the future.
  • The AIPs will be made available to Chiefs and First Nations in coming days on a settlement privileged (confidential) basis.
  • Over the next few months, the AFN, the Government of Canada and others will work toward a full compensation package in a final settlement agreement. The final settlement agreement will contain provisions on eligibility for compensation and the application process.
  • Work toward long-term reform will include AFN-facilitated engagement sessions with regions. Engagement with First Nations will guide our negotiations with the federal government to ensure the reformed program is relevant and responsive to the needs of First Nations children and families across the country.
  • Once a final settlement agreement is completed on long-term reform, it will be shared with AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly for discussion and decision, by the Annual General Assembly in July 2022.

The AFN is sharing with First Nations details on two Agreements-in-Principle (AIPs) on compensation and reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and Jordan’s Principle in a total global settlement package valued at $40 billion. On December 31, 2021, the AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties signed one AIP on compensation and one AIP on reform aimed at ending discrimination in the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and Jordan’s Principle.

The compensation AIP proposes a settlement of $20 billion in compensation to First Nations children and families impacted by discrimination through the FNCFS Program and the improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The compensation acknowledges that too many First Nations children were unnecessarily apprehended from their parents and communities and suffered harms that include abuse, the loss of language, culture and attachment to their families. In addition, compensation will be made available to certain individuals who were subjected to a delay, denial or disruption of services, supports, treatment and products as a result of the federal government’s narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.

The long-term reform AIP outlines a framework to correct the many discriminatory aspects of the FNCFS program and Jordan’s Principle. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the current program contains a perverse incentive for child welfare agencies to apprehend children. Specifically, a child welfare agency would not be reimbursed for expenses incurred to provide services, unless the child was removed from their home and placed into state care. The federal government’s narrow implementation of Jordan’s Principle resulted in First Nation children being denied medical and other services which, in some cases, forced parents to place their children into care. The AIP on long-term reform will result in the elimination of these structural problems.

The Government of Canada has committed $19.807 billion to overhaul the current FNCFS Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. Reforms to the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle will require a complete overhaul of how child protection and least-disruptive measures are delivered in First Nations. The AFN will hold a number of engagement sessions in the coming year with First Nations to discuss the suite of reforms required. These sessions will guide our negotiations with the federal government to ensure the reformed program is relevant and responsive to the needs of First Nations children and families across Canada.

The two AIPs will be made available to Chiefs and First Nations in coming days.

Over the next few months, the AFN, the Government of Canada and others will work towards a full compensation package in a final settlement agreement. The final settlement agreement will contain provisions on eligibility for compensation and the application process. The AFN and the Government of Canada will seek the approval of the Federal Court of Canada before compensation can be released. The AFN will provide information to First Nations on this process over the next few months.  The AFN will not have a role in the claims and payment process – it will be an independent third party.

Details of the distribution of the compensation will be determined in the Final Settlement Agreement, with the input of the AFN.

Once a final settlement agreement on long-term reform is completed, it will be shared with AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly for review and approval, likely by the Annual General Assembly in July 2022.

The AFN acknowledges there will be many questions from First Nations regarding the process for compensation. These details will be provided in the coming months and will be included in the Final Settlement Agreement. The AFN has established an information desk to assist individuals who may have questions on the compensation and long-term reform packages.

For more information please contact [email protected]

The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone in need of immediate mental health support. Call toll-free at 1-855-242-3310.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How many people will be eligible for compensation?

The precise number is not yet known. However, as part of this process, independent third-party experts estimated that over 200,000 First Nations children, youth and caregivers were impacted by Canada’s discrimination in the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and Jordan’s Principle, and would therefore be eligible for compensation.

In addition to compensation, all First Nations children and families will benefit from a reformed family and child services system.

2.  How can people apply for compensation?

Details on eligibility and the application process are still being determined and will be shared once a final settlement agreement is reached.

3.  How much will each person receive?

The total amount of $20 billion for compensation and $19.807 billion for long term system reform comes under the two Agreements-in-Principle.

The next step is to negotiate the Final Settlement Agreement by Spring 2022. From there the eligibility and compensation amounts will be determined, which will then be approved by the courts. A lot of work needs to be conducted before the amounts for individual compensation are released, including reviewing data on children in care and Jordan’s Principle since 1991.

The AFN will be setting up a help desk to answer questions and provide guidance as the process unfolds.

4.  How soon will people begin to receive compensation? Will it be this year?

The AFN and other parties are working hard to get the compensation distributed by the end of 2022 or early 2023. First, the parties will need to negotiate the details of the Final Settlement Agreement. Following that will be a Notice of Certification of the settlement and the approval hearing.

5.  Where can people find out more information?

First Nations who want more information can email [email protected] or go to www.afn.ca.

First Nations Child and Family Services System Reform

6.  How will the $19.807 billion for system reform be allocated?

The Reformed Child and Family Services Funding Approach will provide funding for:

  • National baseline funding for child and family services, which is the actual cost of a child in care.
  • Top-up funding for prevention, information technology, results, emergency funds, poverty, remoteness and geography, capital asset replacement, capital maintenance and recapitalization. These funds will support First Nations to have what they need to deliver the programs and services for children and families that they wish to.
  • A National First Nations Secretariat to provide technical, operational and data support to First Nations and Agencies.
  • First Nations Representative Services to ensure that child and family services are culturally appropriate and meet the needs of First Nations.
  • Major Capital Infrastructure to ensure First Nations have the facilities needed to deliver services, in alignment with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s order on capital (2021 CHRT 41).

7.  When will people start to see a different First Nations Child and Family Services Program?

There is commitment from the AFN and the Government of Canada to move ahead as quickly as possible. The AFN is seeking a system that is based on wellbeing outcomes and focused on prevention.

Some elements of the Agreement-in-Principle and the funding related to system reform may begin rolling out this year, such as supports to assist parents that will keep a child in the home, and extending the age-out of the program to 25 by April 2022. Other reforms will take more time to design and implement.

8.  The announcement is for $40 billion. Where’s the balance of the funds for reform going?

Indigenous Services Canada’s administration costs will be covered by the balance.

 

 

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Angie TurnerAFN Bulletin: Agreements-in-Principle on Compensation and Long-Term Reform related to Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle

AFN SIGNS AGREEMENTS-IN-PRINCIPLE ON COMPENSATION FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND OVERHAUL OF FEDERAL PROGRAM

on January 4, 2022

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse today joined Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller and others at a press conference announcing $20 billion for compensation for First Nations children and families impacted by the discriminatory funding practices of the federal First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and its improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle, as well as an additional $19.807 billion to overhaul the program.

“This historic settlement, of $40 billion dollars, has been a long time coming,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse today in Ottawa. “First Nations from across Canada have had to work very hard for this day. Since we launched the case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal over a decade ago, and prior, the Assembly of First Nations has pressed the federal government to provide redress for monumental wrongs against First Nations children, wrongs fuelled by an inherently biased system.” She added that discriminatory funding and other decisions has led to a massive over-apprehension of First Nations children into the child welfare system in every province and territory.

In a total settlement package valued at $40 billion, the AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties signed two Agreements-in-Principle on December 31, 2021. These agreements come after more than a decade of First Nations advocacy, and a precedent setting win at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2016, appeals by the federal government to that compensation order, a class action lawsuit filed by the AFN in 2020 and just over one year of negotiations.

“Every day for decades, First Nations children, some even newborns, have been ripped from their families and communities, and many denied medical services and other supports when they’ve needed them, all at the hands of a federal child welfare program that should have protected them,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse. “This wasn’t and isn’t about parenting. It’s about poverty, and First Nations children being removed from their families and communities instead of being provided food, clothing or shelter.  We have a long way to go to address the poverty in our nations and no amount of money will ever be the ‘right amount’, nor will it bring back a childhood lost, but today is about acknowledgement, about being seen and heard. Today is about a plan for the future with First Nations defining and determining a path forward grounded in our rights and the common goal to have our children succeed.”

The first of two Agreements-in-Principle proposes a total settlement of $20 billion in compensation to First Nations children and families impacted by discrimination through the FNCFS program and the improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The compensation acknowledges that First Nations children were unnecessarily apprehended from their parents and communities and suffered harms that include abuse, the loss of language, loss of culture and loss of connection to their families and homelands. Compensation will also be made available to certain individuals who were subjected to a delay, denial or disruption of services, supports, treatment and products as a result of the federal government’s narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.

The second Agreement-in-Principle commits the Government of Canada to $19.807 billion to reform the current FNCFS program and includes a framework to correct the many discriminatory aspects of the FNCFS program and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle.

“The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled almost six years ago now that the current program provides incentive for child welfare agencies to apprehend children,” said AFN Regional Chief Woodhouse. “Before the Tribunal’s involvement, a child welfare agency was not reimbursed for expenses incurred to provide services unless the child is removed from their home and placed into state care. Meanwhile, the federal government’s narrow implementation of Jordan’s Principle has resulted in First Nations children being denied medical and other services which, in some cases, forced parents to place their children into care. The AIP on reform is aimed at eliminating these structural problems.”

More than 200,000 First Nations children and youth who were removed from their homes and nations or denied services under Jordan’s Principle could be eligible for compensation.

Over the next few months, the AFN and the Government of Canada and others will work toward a full compensation package in a final settlement agreement that will contain details on eligibility for compensation and the application process. Work toward long-term reform will include AFN-facilitated engagement sessions that will guide negotiations to ensure the reformed program is relevant and responsive to the needs of First Nations children and families across the country.

The AFN, together with the First Nations Caring Society, filed a human rights complaint against the Government of Canada in 2007. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in 2016 that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children by underfunding First Nations child and family services on-reserves and ordered $40,000 to each First Nations child taken from their homes and placed into foster care unnecessarily. After the federal government appealed the compensation order, the AFN filed a class action lawsuit in 2020. Negotiations on a settlement have been ongoing for more than a year.

The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone in need of immediate mental health support. Call toll-free at 1-855-242-3310.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For more information please contact:

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Angie TurnerAFN SIGNS AGREEMENTS-IN-PRINCIPLE ON COMPENSATION FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND OVERHAUL OF FEDERAL PROGRAM

ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – AFN Special Chiefs Assembly

on December 16, 2021

More than 900 First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Women, Youth and Veterans from across Canada virtually joined together from December 7-9, 2021 for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) hosted by the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Chiefs-in-Assembly assessed progress and deliberated First Nations priorities ranging from the implementation of a national action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to the development of distinctions-based health legislation.

Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a total of 33 resolutions, including reaffirmed support for the role and mandate of the AFN Women’s Council, amending the AFN Charter to establish a 2SLGBTQQIA+ Council, and support for the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Final resolutions will be available on the AFN website in January 2022.

SCA delegates honoured former New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Regional Chief Roger Augustine for his long-time leadership and advocacy and his many contributions as a member of the national AFN Executive Committee since 2008.

In her remarks, AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald called on all levels of government to support the Healing Path Forward agenda and identified First Nations recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as a priority. National Chief Archibald also addressed the need for accountability following the recoveries of First Nations children from former institutions of assimilation and genocide.

The AFN welcomed a number of special guests, including the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh and federal ministers, including Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti and Minister of Indigenous Services Canada Patty Hajdu.

Highlights from these guest remarks include a commitment by Prime Minister Trudeau to walk the lifelong journey of a shared path to reconciliation with First Nations and all Canadians, which includes working faster on implementing the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, along with prioritizing implementing the Calls to Action, First Nations economic empowerment and self-determination.

The AFN Circle of Trade Virtual Exchange welcomed SCA participants and featured six First Nations and Indigenous businesses, organizations and sponsors, offering networking opportunities with industry experts.

The AFN thanks First Nations leadership, delegates and sponsors for their active participation in the 2021 virtual SCA and wishes everyone a safe, healthy and restful holiday season. We look forward to continuing to build a healing path forward for First Nations and all Canadians now and in the coming year.

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Roy WhiteduckASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – AFN Special Chiefs Assembly

AFN BULLETIN – December 16, 2021 – AFN is Seeking Stories from First Nations Learners Related to Post-Secondary Experience

on December 16, 2021

SUMMARY: 

  • The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is launching the Champions of Change national call to First Nations learners to share their experiences with post-secondary education.
  • Personal stories shared by First Nations learners will be the foundation of a multimedia series that will highlight the unique experiences of First Nations individuals pursuing post-secondary education and help shape policy changes that support First Nations students and institutions.
  • The key findings from the stories will be used to support AFN’s advocacy efforts aimed at improving educational experiences for First Nations post-secondary students.
  • Become a Champion of Change! First Nations students are being asked to submit their personal stories and experiences through an online submission process. Please submit all materials by January 19, 2022.

First Nations post-secondary students need appropriate and adequate supports to accomplish their education goals.  Many First Nations students and learners do not pursue education because of the existing barriers to adequate funding. While recent federal investments have helped address the wait list for funding supports for post-secondary education, more and more learners want to attend post-secondary institutions, which further adds to bottlenecks in the system.

The AFN continues to advocate for improvements and investments in all areas of First Nations post-secondary education. Based on the knowledge shared by policy analysts, educators, First Nations students and First Nations community leaders to date, the AFN has developed a new initiative that will shape its future advocacy efforts.

Today the AFN is launching the Champions of Change national Call for Stories from First Nations post-secondary students and learners. Personal stories shared by First Nations learners will be the foundation of a multimedia series that will highlight the unique experiences of First Nations individuals pursuing post-secondary education. The challenges, triumphs, opportunities and obstacles—brought to life through words and video—could affect future policymaking and legislation. The AFN aims to advance and improve First Nations post-secondary education with the support of these individual stories.

Learn more about how you can become a Champion of Change and influence policy: https://www.afn.ca/post-secondary-education-advocacy/

Call for Stories ends on January 19, 2022.

For further information please visit afn.ca or email [email protected].

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Celso CercadoAFN BULLETIN – December 16, 2021 – AFN is Seeking Stories from First Nations Learners Related to Post-Secondary Experience

ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – Child and Family Services Compensation and Fundamental Reform

on December 15, 2021

SUMMARY: 

  • The AFN is participating in negotiations for a global settlement with the Government of Canada on compensation and long-term reforms to the federal First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and Jordan’s Principle.
  • The Government of Canada announced December 13, 2021 it has budgeted up to $40 billion to settle the class action lawsuit and the human rights complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal related to discrimination against First Nations children.
  • The negotiations on a proposed settlement are ongoing and the completion of formal agreements will be subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Canada.
  • Once an Agreement-in-Principle has been concluded, the AFN will schedule regional meetings regarding long-term reforms to ensure all aspects of a reformed FNCFS Program will be responsive to and reflect regional interests.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is pleased to share with Chiefs and First Nations a major step toward compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle. The AFN, together with parties to a March 2019 class action lawsuit and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) proceedings, are engaged in settlement discussions. The Government of Canada has budgeted up to $40 billion to implement a Final Settlement Agreement on compensation and long-term reforms of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle.

The parties are finalizing an Agreement-in-Principle that will guide ongoing discussions toward reaching a Final Settlement Agreement. The Final Agreement(s) will require the approval of the Federal Court of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.  The Final Settlement Agreements will outline the process in which direct compensation will be paid to the survivors of the federal government’s discriminatory practices.

A framework will be shared with AFN Chiefs in Assembly for discussion and decision and will include regional processes and dialogue with First Nations.

This major milestone for First Nations children and families was achieved by the long-standing advocacy of First Nations children and families, the AFN and its allies. AFN Regional Chief Woodhouse shared an update on this matter with AFN Chiefs in Assembly at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly last week.

In 2016, the CHRT ruled that the Government of Canada was discriminating against First Nations children in the FNCFS Program. In 2019 at the request of the AFN, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay compensation for First Nations children and their family members impacted by discriminatory practices and approaches of the FNCFS Program and its narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.

The AFN filed a class action lawsuit in January 2020 aimed at securing compensation for harms inflicted on all First Nations children and families under the federal government’s discriminatory FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle. This included seeking compensation for First Nations children involved in the system since 1991 who were not included in the 2019 CHRT compensation order. The proposed settlement will allow for compensation to all children affected.

The AFN will share additional information when available. For more information please contact [email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS BULLETIN – Child and Family Services Compensation and Fundamental Reform

AFN SECURES COMPENSATION FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND ACTION TOWARD SYSTEMIC REFORM

on December 13, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse today responded to news from the Government of Canada related to ongoing negotiations for compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle and systemic reform to the program.

The AFN, together with parties to a March 2019 class action lawsuit and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) complaint, are negotiating the details of compensation for First Nations children who experienced discrimination in the federal government’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and its failure to properly implement Jordan’s Principle and systemic reform to the program.

The Government of Canada today stated that up to $40 billion would be committed.  Any proposed global settlement is subject to the completion of formal agreements and judicial approval.

“I am committed to ensuring discrimination against our children and families in the child welfare system ends now,” said AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, who has led negotiations for AFN.  “The AFN’s focus is also on a path forward where our children and families are respected, finally receive the supports they need to thrive, and this includes fundamental reform of First Nations child and family services and the full implementation of Jordan’s Principle. This up to $40 billion settlement is a result of the long-term advocacy of Assembly of First Nations fighting for First Nations children and their families.  This is a concrete example of what you can do when you are at the table instead of fighting in court”.

“The magnitude of the proposed compensation package is a testament to how many of our children were ripped from their families and communities,” said AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald.   “Money does not mean justice, however, it signals that we are on the healing path forward as we finalize long term reform to ensure we meet our vision of, children surrounded by the love and care of their families living in safe and vibrant communities.”

In 2016 the CHRT ruled that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children in the FNCFS Program. In 2019, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay compensation for First Nations children and their family members impacted by discriminatory practices and approaches of the FNCFS Program and its narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. That compensation order, however, did not include First Nations children in the system since 1991.

The AFN filed a class action lawsuit in January 2020 aimed at securing compensation for harms inflicted on First Nations children and families under the federal government’s discriminatory FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle and to seek compensation for First Nations children involved in the system since 1991 who were not included in the 2019 CHRT compensation order.

“I acknowledge the courage of the many First Nation individuals and families who have shared their experiences in the child welfare system and the leaders who have pressed for many years for compensation,” said Regional Chief Woodhouse.  “Today I commend the commitment of Ministers Hadju and Miller and the Prime Minister for working with the AFN on fundamental reform of child and family services.”

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information please contact:

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckAFN SECURES COMPENSATION FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND ACTION TOWARD SYSTEMIC REFORM

Canadian Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Provide an Update on Delegation to Rome

on December 7, 2021

December 7, 2021 – After careful assessment of the uncertainty and potential health risks surrounding international travel amid the recent spread of the Omicron variant, the Canadian Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have jointly decided to reschedule a delegation to the Vatican in December 2021 to the earliest opportunity in 2022.

The decision to postpone was a heartbreaking one, made after careful consultation with delegates, family members, community leaders, public health officials and the leadership of each of the three National Indigenous Organizations. Particularly for many elderly delegates as well as those who live in remote communities, the risk of infection and the fluid nature of the evolving global situation presents too great a threat at this time.

We take comfort in the desire, conveyed to us by the Holy See, that the safety of the delegation should inform any decision to move forward. It is also important to note that the delegation is postponed not cancelled.

Currently, the world’s health experts are still learning about the transmissibility of the Omicron variant. As more information becomes available, we will continue to assess the feasibility of future travel plans, based on guidance from the Canadian government and relevant international authorities.

Our shared commitment to walking together towards healing and reconciliation remains strong. We understand that the Holy See is very much committed to rescheduling this visit in the new year and we look forward to the opportunity for Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, and youth to participate in private meetings with Pope Francis.

For further information:

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – [email protected]
Assembly of First Nations – [email protected]
Métis National Council – [email protected]
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami – [email protected]

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Sid LeeCanadian Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Provide an Update on Delegation to Rome

First Nations Gathering Virtually to Set Direction for Progress at AFN Special Chiefs Assembly

on December 7, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Hundreds of First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Women, Youth and Veterans from across Canada are joined virtually today through Thursday for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) hosted by the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation this week. From December 7-9, AFN SCA delegates will discuss priorities, including efforts to reform First Nations child and family services, work toward distinctions-based health legislation, the assertion of fishing rights, and efforts toward an action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, among others.

“I look forward to joining everyone virtually at this year’s Special Chiefs Assembly. Now is the time to build on progress and continue to make positive and evolutionary change for our children, families and communities. I look forward to a successful three days and will continue to stand with you, advocate with you, and support your plans for progress. Together, we will build a healing path forward for First Nations and all Canadians,” said AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald.

Notable highlights of the three-day Assembly include an address by the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, live opening remarks by National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and remarks by a number of federal ministers, including The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada.

The AFN Circle of Trade Virtual Exchange will be available to SCA participants to discover new products, initiatives and potential partnerships directly from industry experts in a number of areas.

Chiefs and delegates from across the country come together twice a year to set strategic direction based on First Nations needs and priorities. Chiefs Assemblies provide the venue for First Nations leaders to direct the work of the AFN, the National Chief and Executive Committee through resolutions.

A full agenda of the AFN Virtual Special Chiefs Assembly is available at: 21-10-21-SCA-2021-Provisional-Agenda_eng.pdf (afn.ca)

To register for the AFN Virtual Special Chiefs Assembly, please visit the AFN website: Special Chiefs Assembly 2021 | Assembly of First Nations (afn.ca)

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 Contact information:

 Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Celso CercadoFirst Nations Gathering Virtually to Set Direction for Progress at AFN Special Chiefs Assembly