Advocate asks AFN chiefs to ensure $40B settlement deal leaves no child behind

OTTAWA- A First Nations child-welfare advocate says chiefs should ensure that “no child is left behind” in a landmark $40-billion settlement agreement with the federal government.

Cindy Blackstock was invited to speak at a gathering of the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa by Cindy Woodhouse, a regional chief of the organization.

The AFN, representing more than 600 First Nations across the country, had asked the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to approve the settlement deal, which would see the government compensate families for systemic discrimination in the Indigenous child-welfare system.

Blackstock, who is executive director of the First Nations Caring Society, raised concerns that the agreement wouldn’t provide $40,000 in compensation to all eligible claimants, which is the amount the tribunal ruled they should get.

The tribunal rejected the deal in October, and last month the federal government filed a judicial review of some parts of the settlement.

Chiefs at the assembly heard from two women today about the harms caused by the child-welfare system, and are expected to vote on how the AFN should move forward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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