Canada agrees to compensate Indigenous children taken from families Reuters

© Reuters.On Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a student walks through an exhibit at Hillcrest High School to commemorate the missing children and survivors, their families and communities of the Aboriginal boarding school in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Authors: Anna Mehler Paperny and Ismail Shakil

Toronto (Reuters)-Canada announced on Tuesday two agreements totaling 40 billion Canadian dollars (31.5 billion U.S. dollars) to compensate Indigenous children who were taken away from their families and included in the child welfare system, and reforms to take them away And deprive them of the services they need.

These agreements include 20 billion Canadian dollars to fund hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children who may be separated from their families, have not received services, or experience delays in receiving services. Another 20 billion Canadian dollars is used to reform the system over the next five years.

These agreements were signed nearly 15 years after the Aboriginal Children and Family Care Association filed a human rights complaint.

The Canadian Human Rights Court has repeatedly found that child and family services discriminate against First Nations children, partly because of insufficient funds for services in the reservation, so children are taken from the home and removed from the reservation to obtain these services.

Canada acknowledges that its system is discriminatory, but has repeatedly opposed orders to pay compensation and fund reforms, including an appeal filed last year -Injured by discrimination-October 29, 2021.

Canada is also filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of aboriginal children, and the compensation agreement is intended to resolve the lawsuit.

Attorney General David Lametti said on Tuesday that once the agreement is finalized in the next few months, the government will abandon the appeal.

The reform agreement includes the provision of $2,500 in preventive health care for each child, as well as support for foster children over 18 years of age.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the Aboriginal Children and Family Care Association, said that funds aimed at reforming and preventing services should begin to flow in April, but they may not be able to solve deep-rooted problems.

“I think it’s just talking on paper,” she told Reuters.

“When I walk into a community and a child can say to me,’My life is better than yesterday, I judged victory.’ Before implementation, nothing in these words will really change the life of the child .”

David Stearns, a lawyer representing the injured Aboriginal children and families, said at a press conference that this will be the largest class action settlement in Canadian history.

“The seriousness of this reconciliation is caused by one reason, and only one reason. This is the absolute scope of the harm caused to the members of the collective,” he said.

At the press conference, Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, vowed to end discrimination against Indigenous children because of the disproportionate proportion of Indigenous children in foster care institutions across Canada.

“Canada’s decisions and actions have harmed Aboriginal children, families and communities,” she said. “Discrimination has caused intergenerational injuries and losses. These losses are irreversible. But I believe that a cure is possible.”

($1 = 1.2696 Canadian dollars)

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