Canada has announced it will be appealing the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the Tribunal) orders providing compensation for First Nations children and families victimized by Canada’s ongoing “wilful and reckless” discrimination in child welfare services. Canada will not be appealing the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the Tribunal’s order ensuring all First Nations children living off-reserve who are recognized by their Nations are eligible for help under Jordan’s Principle.
On September 29th, 2021, Justice Paul Favel of the Federal Court issued a decision upholding these two decisions in response to Canada’s request for judicial review. Canada had 30 days to either appeal or accept this decision. Prime Minister Trudeau told press on October 19th that his government was discussing next steps with Indigenous leaders and communities, but that they have not yet reached a decision. To be clear, the Caring Society was not consulted by Canada nor, to the best of our knowledge, were any of the other parties to the legal proceeding.
The Tribunal originally decided on these orders in 2019 and 2020, as part of the ongoing legal case against Canada for discrimination against First Nations children. A full history of the case, including copies of all the orders, is accessible at fnwitness.ca.
By requesting a partial appeal, Canada has only allowed for partial justice. The federal government’s decision to continue its legal fight against First Nations children by appealing the Federal Court orders to compensate victims of Canada’s ongoing “wilful and reckless” discrimination takes direct aim at the top Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and perpetuates the harms to First Nations children, youth, and families.
Canadians cannot allow the government to perpetuate systemic discrimination in what a legal order described as a “worst case-scenario” towards this generation of First Nations children while placing flowers on the gravesites of the children it already harmed. It is time for the Canadian government to put down its sword, stop its public misrepresentations about this case and accept the legal consequences of its own actions.
While Canada’s decision to have the Federal Court order on Jordan’s Principle eligibility is a step in the right direction on the path of reconciliation that we all walk together, their choice to appeal the compensation order indicates they are maintaining their pattern of approaching this case from an “old mindset” that is not in the spirit of
reconciliation. This will cause further delays in the provision of compensation to over 50,000 children and families. It is the Caring Society’s view that the compensation belongs to the children and families who were hurt by Canada’s discrimination, including the children who have died. We will defend the Tribunal’s orders in all forums.
If Canada wants to demonstrate good faith and true reconciliation to First Nations, they must additionally withdraw their judicial review on capital filed September 24, 2021.
This order provides capital funding for First Nations child welfare and the provision of Jordan’s Principle services, and was decided by the Tribunal on August 26, 2021. We look forward to working with Canada to implement the orders of the Tribunal fully and to end discrimination against First Nations kids in Canada and prevent any future discrimination.
A summary of the Federal Court’s decision is available here: information sheet.
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