(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is extremely disappointed to hear of last week’s request for judicial review by the Government of Canada on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision that secured compensation for First Nations children wrongly removed or denied essential services.
“This is beyond unacceptable. The Government of Canada is once again preparing to fight First Nations children in court. I’ve connected with Minister Seamus O’Regan to share my deep disappointment,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde.
“The AFN will always stand up and fight for First Nations children and families. The CHRT panel found that the government racially discriminated against First Nations children in care in a willful and reckless manner. As a result, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay the maximum amount allowable under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The government could have addressed the broken system and the funding inequalities before, but they didn’t. To appeal this CHRT ruling, which was meant to provide a measure of justice for First Nations children in care, is hurtful and unjust.”
It is estimated that a minimum of 54,000 children and their families could have benefitted from this ruling. The CHRT has issued seven compliance orders against Canada since its original ruling in January 2016.
“It is time for Canada to stop obstructing fairness and justice, end its discriminatory practices, and start taking responsibility for its historic and ongoing treatment of First Nations children. First Nations children must be provided the care and opportunity they deserve,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the child welfare portfolio for the AFN.