By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Plaintiffs in the Jordan’s Principle class-action lawsuit will see a slightly bigger windfall than previously thought after the final settlement was revised by the parties involved , a government statement indicated.
A revised final settlement agreement now totalling more than $23 billion was reached by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Moushoom and Trout class actions plaintiffs, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and Canada’s federal government.
The settlement seeks to compensate those harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and those impacted by the federal government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle, which seeks to ensure that Indigenous people receive an appropriate level of care.
The settlement had previously been announced at $20 billion.
The revised final settlement agreement now totalling more than $23 billion was reached by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Moushoom and Trout class actions plaintiffs, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and the federal government.
The AFN’s regional Manitoba Chief said that hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people have been waiting a long time to see a settlement.
“More than 300,000 First Nations children and families have been waiting decades for recognition of the harms done to them through discriminatory practices of First Nations Child and Family Services and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. This $23 billion final settlement agreement is a long overdue turning point for so many thousands of families,” said Cindy Woodhouse. “I’m grateful for all the individuals who contributed to this process, and to the Chiefs-in-Assembly for supporting this historic $23 billion compensation agreement. The Assembly of First Nations is fully committed to see the reforms needed to end discrimination and to support First Nations’ inherent jurisdiction over child and family services.”
The settlement agreement is not quite final just yet, however. A few key steps remain. The parties will return the settlement to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for confirmation the settlement satisfies the tribunal’s requirements and following that, the agreement will go the Federal Court for final approval.
Federal Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu said the settlement is a testament to those who have led the way in searching for justice for the children harmed in the past.
“This revised settlement agreement is a testament to all parties who have stayed committed to seeing that First Nations children and families will be compensated for the harms they faced from discriminatory funding and programs,” she said. “This historic First Nations-led process continues as we commit to our continued work of long-term reform of First Nations child and family services and Jordan’s Principle so children and families never face this discrimination again.”
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded.