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STC Calls on Governments to Move on Human Rights Tribunal Ruling

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September 6, 2019


Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) Chief Mark Arcand commended the decision by the Human Rights Tribunal found that the systemic discrimination First Nation people face in the child welfare system was wilful and reckless on the part of Canada and must result in individual financial awards to those who were in the system. In particular First Nation families that have had children removed from their home and placed into care, or those who had to put their children in out of home care for medical or therapeutic reasons will both be eligible for compensation for discrimination by Canada.

The decision, which builds on previous rulings from the Human Rights Tribunal, awarded financial compensation to First Nations children and youth that were in care and removed and to their parents and grandparents.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision follows a hearing on April 25 and 26, 2019. The CHRT agreed with the AFN’s submissions and has ordered Canada to provide compensation of $20,000 to $40,000 to:

  • all First Nation children who were unnecessarily apprehended on or after January 1, 2006
  • all parents or grandparents of children unnecessarily apprehended on or after January 1, 2006
  • all children denied an essential service (Jordan’s Principle) between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017

“First, my thoughts are with the families that have been traumatized by the Child Welfare system across Canada for decades. Canada discriminated against our children and families and our people continue to be harmed. What happened with the residential schools quickly was replaced by child welfare interventions that continued to breakup families. This has been a time of enormous suffering, harm and loss of opportunity for so many—none more directly impacted than those who were removed and their parents and grandparents. The Tribunal said that good services are also required and highlighted areas like mental health and health services—areas where there are ongoing problems in Saskatchewan and urgent work required to ensure we have proper family focussed wellness supports.” said STC Tribal Chief Mark Arcand.

“In our region of Treaty 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10 (also known as Saskatchewan) the impact has been appalling for generations, and the treaties were supposed to protect our peoples’ and our ways of life. And I know there will be many who will say that the financial compensation is enough but it’s not enough. Enough is ensuring that the children and families who were impacted are properly supported through healing, through family support centres and most importantly ensuring this systemic, racial discrimination stops now.”

“Saskatoon Tribal Council supports making sure that victims directly receive the compensation they deserve and not some agency or government. STC will support victims and families in any way we can in the days ahead. We call upon Canada to accept this decision and stop fighting over it.”

The federal government has made reconciliation with Indigenous people a priority in its mandate. Arcand said, “I expect the next steps to include discussion with impacted youth and leaders to develop an effective process for every child and parent impacted that offers full support beyond financial compensation,” said Arcand. “This is the very least that can happen for our families and communities, and for those in the Saskatoon Tribal Council, I expect it to happen without delay.”
 

For more information, please contact:
Saskatoon Tribal Council
Bonnie Leask at Creative Fire
P:     306 202 7572