ontario news watch

Chiefs hopeful court will approve landmark child-welfare settlement this week

OTTAWA — First Nations chiefs and advocates are hopeful the Federal Court will approve a landmark child-welfare settlement this week.

The court is hearing final arguments in Ottawa this week on a proposed settlement agreement that would be the biggest in Canadian history if it passes. 

The settlement includes $23 billion in compensation for more than 300,000 children and their families, and another $20 billion to reform the child welfare system.

The Assembly of First Nations interim national chief, Joanna Bernard, says families have been waiting decades for this settlement.

Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society that took Canada to task in 2007, says there are still a number of issues.

Blackstock says First Nations children living on-reserve are still subject to inequitable access to health care, and Ottawa must do more to protect them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press