For immediate release
December 15, 2021
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. continues to advocate for MKO First Nations on child welfare compensation orders issued by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in September 2019.
In February 2007, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (Caring Society) filed a Canadian Human Rights complaint alleging Canada is discriminating against First Nations children in the provision of on-reserve child welfare. In January 2016, the Tribunal confirmed that the federal government is discriminating against First Nations children.
In early November 2021, the Government of Canada, AFN, and the Caring Society began negotiations towards reaching a global resolution on compensation to First Nations children on reserve, as well as long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program.
The federal government announced it is setting aside $40 billion in its fall economic update for First Nations child welfare as it continues talks on settling compensation claims. The money is to cover the cost of settling the Tribunal compensation order, two class action lawsuits, and the long-term reform of the First Nations child welfare system. The proposed offer by the federal government does not represent a final agreement. The parties have until December 31, 2021, to finalize one.
“This is one of the largest settlements in history from the Government of Canada. We applaud the federal government in coming through in the name of reconciliation,” shared Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “There remains much work to be done, which must be led by First Nations.”
“Shirley Allarie, Director of the MKO Child Welfare Secretariat represents MKO First Nations at the negotiation table. I acknowledge Shirley for her steadfast advocacy for the best interests of First Nations children, youth, and families in Northern Manitoba,” said Grand Chief Settee.
Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse of the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Region is leading negotiations on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and Natalie Ballentyne of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also has a role in the negotiation process.
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]