Feds, Indigenous leaders to announce child welfare compensation agreement Tuesday

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OTTAWA — An agreement in principle that will see Ottawa pay billions in compensation to First Nations children harmed by an underfunded child welfare system is set to be announced in Ottawa this week.

Sources confirmed to The Canadian Press that negotiations reached final stages on New Year's Eve, resulting in an agreement that may finally bring an end to a human rights challenge launched 14 years ago.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled five years ago that Canada's chronic underfunding of child welfare services on reserves was discriminatory and in 2019 ordered it to pay $40,000 in compensation to every child, parent and grandparent harmed by the policies.

The case has been a gaping wound in reconciliation efforts with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, as both the former and current federal governments spent millions fighting it in court.

This fall, even as Ottawa appealed the latest court decision upholding the tribunal orders, the federal government started to negotiate with Indigenous leaders on how the compensation package would work.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller are to join Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse Tuesday to discuss an update on the compensation talks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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