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For immediate release
January 5, 2022
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. supports the Agreements-in-Principle on compensation and long-term reform of First Nations Child and Family Services First Nations announced by the Government of Canada on January 4, 2022.
“These agreements represent an historic marker in the reconciliation process in Canada,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “Over the coming months, I am cautiously optimistic the parties involved will work toward reaching final settlement agreements that are fair and equitable. I also expect the final settlement agreements to end the discrimination against First Nations children, youth, and families impacted by the child welfare system.”
The parties involved in the negotiations signed the Agreements-in-Principle on December 31, 2021. These parties include the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (Caring Society), the Chiefs of Ontario, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and counsel for the Moushoom and Trout class actions.
In February 2007, the AFN and the 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 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal confirmed that the federal government is discriminating against First Nations children.
In November 2021, the Government of Canada, the 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 two Agreements-in-Principle include $20 billion in compensation for First Nations children on reserve and in Yukon Territory who were removed from their homes between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022, and for their parents and caregivers and approximately $20 billion over five years for the long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program.
“We are very proud and honoured our MKO Child Welfare Secretariat Director Shirley Allarie played a key role in assisting in writing the Agreements in Principle. She is a strong advocate in ensuring supports are put in place for Manitoba First Nations,” shared Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “We thank all the leaders who worked diligently on these agreements. We also recognize Dr. Cindy Blackstock for her many years of ongoing advocacy work on this issue. Dr. Blackstock is a shining example of how one person can have a positive and lasting impact on First Nations children, youth, and families.”
The Agreements-in-Principle are expected to be finalized by the parties by March 31, 2022 and will require final approval by the Federal Court of Canada and the Tribunal.
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]