What is this Compensation For?
For decades, Canada has discriminated against First Nations children and families in two ways:
The Millennium Scoop: Underfunded Child and Family Services on Reserve
Canada knowingly underfunded child and family services for First Nations children living on reserve and in the Yukon which prevented child welfare service agencies from providing adequate services to First Nations children living on reserve. At the same time, Canada fully-funded the costs of care for First Nations children living off reserve after being removed from their homes and placed in out-of-home care. As a result, government agencies have been incentivized to remove First Nations children on reserve and in the Yukon from their homes on reserve and place them in out-of-home care.
The funding incentive to remove First Nations children from their homes accounts for the staggering number of First Nations children in state care today- approximately three times the amount that were in residential schools at the peak in the 1940s. This is called the “Millennium Scoop”.
Canada’s incentivized removal of First Nations children from their homes during the Millennium Scoop has caused serious, life-long trauma, and has enduring consequences on First Nations children. Canada’s practice has persisted despite the significant need for services on reserve due to the inter-generational trauma caused by the legacy of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, and despite calls to action by several official, independent fact-finders. Canada has known about the severe inadequacies of its funding formulas, policies, and practices for years but has failed to adequately address them.
Jordan’s Principle: Unequal Access to Health and Social Support
Canada failed to comply with Jordan’s Principle, a legal requirement designed to safeguard First Nation’s children’s substantive equality rights. Jordan’s Principle aims to prevent First Nations children from suffering gaps, delays, disruptions or denials in receiving necessary services while governments determine which level (federal, provincial, or territorial) or which governmental department will pay for the services. It ensures families have access to the same health and social support as non-Indigenous children and families, and receive that support without significant delays. Canada has admitted that Jordan’s Principle is a legal requirement but despite this, Canada has essentially ignored Jordan’s Principle and thereby denied crucial services and products to tens of thousands of First Nations children and families.