The Canadian government has reached a “milestone” $31-billion settlement to compensate indigenous children and families harmed by the “discriminatory underfunding” of the child welfare system on First Nations reservations.
Two in-principle agreements – relating to compensation for more than 200,000 affected children dating back to 1991, and to future reform of the system – represent the “largest settlement in Canadian history,” Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said on Tuesday.
Noting that “historic injustices require historic reparations,” Miller said that “no amount of money can reverse the harms experienced” and described the deals as an acknowledgement that successive governments had failed indigenous children.
Once finalized, the settlement will conclude a long-running legal battle, which began in 2007 with a complaint by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). In 2016, the tribunal ruled that Ottawa had underfunded services for First Nations children relative to those for non-indigenous children.