Ottawa, 6 July 2022 (TDI): The largest settlement agreement in Canada was signed on 4 July 2022.  The federal government decided that $20 billion will be given to First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and Jordan principle.

It is considered the largest agreement in the history of Canada. The amount is for the children of First Nations and for their families to compensate for the discrimination, they faced.

The First Nations are groups of Canadian indigenous peoples, who are classified as distinct from the Inuit and Métis.

First Nations children and families continuously faced a lack of funding for child protection services. Manitoba Regional Chief, Cindy Woodhouse stated at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) that:

“Children from First Nations communities deserve to live in a loving environment. The environment should be free from oppressive government regulations.”

“And I’m pleased to declare on behalf of the AFN that we have achieved a historic milestone for our children and their families after three decades of campaigning and months of talks.”

Canada’s Assistance for the First Nations’ children and families

The purpose of the agreement is to prevent legal disputes about how to pay for programs for First Nations children from delaying the delivery of services for children.

In January, the federal government declared the agreement in general. These included $20 billion in reparations and an additional $20 billion to modernize the First Nations child welfare system over five years.

The 2021 fiscal update set aside the whole $40 billion. In 2007, the First Nations Children and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations made their complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

They claimed that they face a continuous lack of funding for child protective services in on-reserve communities. It was unfair because the children in other communities were provided with more opportunities by the provincial government.

In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the federal government had treated First Nations children unfairly. To get the case dismissed, the Liberal Administration filed an appeal and the court turned it down.

In 2019 the court ordered the government to pay $40,000 to the children and parents who were removed from their families. But the appeal was suspended due to a lack of consensus.

The agreement has now been signed by all the parties involved. The other $20 billion is planned for the FNCFS program for future reforms over the five years.

The majority of the changes will take place as a result of Bill C-92, which was enacted in June 2019. The bill states that indigenous families and communities have sole control over child welfare services in those areas.