NAN Response to Federal Government’s Appeal of CHRT Ruling on Indigenous Child Welfare

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse has issued the following response as the Government of Canada is seeking to appeal of a Federal Court ruling upholding a landmark Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) ruling on Indigenous child welfare compensation.

“We are disappointed that Canada has not abided by the rulings of the Federal Court and filed this appeal, looking again to litigation to sort out its obligations to First Nations children. We acknowledge that Canada has tabled a significant offer that Parties to this litigation believe may provide a path forward through, and we respect that they have agreed to pause litigation and enter into negotiations that will hopefully lead to a lasting agreement,” said Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse. “But we are very frustrated with this process. NAN expects, and demands, robust Nation-to-Nation discussions with this government to address our unique issues, including remoteness, and will address these though our established bilateral process with our federal Treaty partner. We will be at the table for all negotiations but will continue our own process to address issues specific to our First Nations communities.”

The Parties have agreed to immediately work towards reaching a global resolution on outstanding issues that have been the subject of litigation by December 2021. This will include:

• providing fair, equitable compensation to First Nations children on-reserve and in the Yukon who were removed from their homes by child and family services agencies, as well as those who were impacted by the government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle;

• achieving long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Service program; and

• funding for the purchase and/or construction of capital assets that support the delivery of child and family services on-reserve and Jordan’s Principle.

Canada has filed a protective appeal of the Federal Court decision of September 29, 2021. This appeal will be on hold and the focus will be on reaching an agreement outside of Court and at the negotiating table.