Please Note

Compensation is not currently available. Details on compensation eligibility and the application process will be made available at a later date. Please check this website for updates.

RECOGNIZE    REFORM    RENEW

The Agreements-in-Principle

Every child in Canada deserves to grow up with their family, supported by their community and their culture. However, for decades, thousands of First Nations children have been unnecessarily removed from their homes, families and communities.

Change is coming. On December 31, 2021, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Government of Canada and other parties reached a historic agreement on compensation for the discrimination that First Nations children and families experienced under the Government of Canada’s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. A second historic agreement was reached between the AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties, including the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, on long-term reform of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle.

In the Agreement-in-Principle reached on compensation, the Government of Canada has agreed to pay a total of $20 billion in compensation to children removed from their homes on-reserve and in the Yukon from April 1, 1991, to March 2022, as well as to some of their caregivers.

The Agreement-in-Principle on compensation also includes children who were denied the essential services and other supports they needed or received them after a delay, because the Government of Canada failed to meet the essential service needs of First Nations children and failed to meet the legal requirements of Jordan’s Principle. Some of the caregivers of these children will also be compensated.

The Agreement-in-Principle is not a final settlement agreement. Compensation is not currently available.

In addition to compensation, the Government of Canada has agreed in principle to invest close to $20 billion in reforms that will ensure that the profound discrimination in the FNCFS Program and improper application of Jordan’s Principle ends and does not happen again.

These reforms will fill long-standing, known gaps in services and support for on-reserve First Nations children, including youth reaching the age of majority. Reforms will address the underlying reasons that First Nations children enter the FNCFS Program, including poverty, inadequate housing and other infrastructure, and a lack of services to support families in crisis. These reforms will also ensure the full and proper implementation of Jordan’s Principle so that gaps in essential programs and services for First Nations children are addressed. Long-term reform of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle has a clear priority: the wellness of First Nations children, families, and communities.

“To all children taken without reason from their families, this is our message: We are all in this together. You are loved. You are precious. You are our future.”
—Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald

Important note: Compensation is not available yet. Individuals who qualify for compensation can expect  payments to start by late 2022 or early 2023.

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We recognize that Survivors may need support during the compensation and long-term reform process.

The Helpline offers free, anonymous counselling and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone at 1-855-242-3310.

Children and youth can call Kids Help Phone anytime at 1-800-668-6868.

Background

In February 2007, the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The complaint stated that the Government of Canada was discriminating against First Nations children and families by underfunding the First Nations Child and Family Services Program on-reserve and in the Yukon, and by failing to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) agreed with the complaint in a landmark decision. The CHRT ordered the federal government to end its discrimination, immediately reform the FNCFS Program, and fully implement Jordan’s Principle. In the years since this historic decision, the CHRT has issued more than 13 non-compliance orders because the Government of Canada has not been following the CHRT’s orders.

In September 2019, at the request of the AFN, the CHRT issued a Compensation Decision. This ordered the Government of Canada to pay eligible First Nations children and their parents and caregivers $40,000 in compensation. Included in the decision were First Nations children on-reserve and in the Yukon who were unnecessarily removed from their homes from 2006 onwards, and First Nations children who were denied the essential services and other supports they needed, or received them after a delay, because the Government of Canada failed to meet the legal requirements of Jordan’s Principle. The families and caregivers of both groups of children were also included in the Compensation Decision.

Two class action lawsuits were also filed, including one by the AFN, seeking compensation for First Nations children and family members who were discriminated against through underfunding of the FNCFS Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. These class actions date back to 1991, which means they cover more First Nations children and caregivers than the CHRT’s orders. In the fall of 2021, the Government of Canada agreed to enter into negotiations to settle the class action lawsuits.

Following intensive negotiations throughout the Fall of 2021, on December 31, 2021, the AFN, the Government of Canada, and other parties reached two historic Agreements-in-Principle – one on compensation and one on long-term reform.

Eligibility for Compensation

Who is eligible for compensation in the class action is not yet determined.

More details will become available upon the conclusion of the Final Settlement Agreement.

Next Steps

The AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties are currently negotiating a Final Settlement Agreement. Once a final settlement is reached, parties will need to seek approval from the Federal Court of Canada and the CHRT.

The AFN is working hard to have compensation distributed as soon as possible and estimates that this will be by the end of 2022 or early 2023 at the earliest.

Long-Term Reform

Background on Long-Term reform

The CHRT found in 2016 that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children and their families on-reserve and in the Yukon by underfunding the FNCFS Program. The program was funded in a way that created a perverse incentive for children to be removed from their homes. This led to adverse outcomes for First Nations children and their families and contributed to the overrepresentation of First Nations children in care. The CHRT ordered the Government of Canada to cease its discriminatory practices and immediately overhaul the FNCFS Program.

The CHRT also found the federal government’s narrow application of Jordan’s Principle created gaps, delays, and denials in accessing essential public services and products, leading to negative impacts for First Nations children and their families on-reserve and in the Yukon. The CHRT ordered the Government of Canada to cease applying a narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle and to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle.

Current status

On December 31, 2021, the AFN, Canada and other parties to the CHRT and related class action processes also endorsed an Agreement-in-Principle on long-term reforms. The Government of Canada has committed $19.807 billion over five years to long-term reform of the FNCFS Program and to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

Long-term reform will also ensure that First Nations have the funding that they need to support their children and families to thrive. It will address critical funding gaps that the existing FNCFS Program has entrenched, such as prevention services, remoteness, emergency funds, capital and infrastructure, and more. Addressing these gaps will enable First Nations to control the delivery of the programs and services for children and families.

The goal of long-term reform for Jordan’s Principle is to ensure that it is implemented in its full meaning and scope, in accordance with the CHRT’s orders, and that First Nations children do not face delays, denials or gaps in accessing services and supports. Long-term reform of Jordan’s Principle further seeks to identify and close the systemic gaps that adversely impact First Nations children. This includes addressing the long-standing and known gaps in services and supports for First Nations children, including for youth reaching the age of majority, and supporting First Nations to have a greater role in the coordination and delivery of supports for children.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to questions you may have about the Agreements-in-Principle on compensation and long-term reform.

Compensation

 

1.  What is the total amount of Compensation the Government of Canada will pay?

In the Agreement-in-Principle negotiated between the AFN, Moushoom Class and the Government of Canada, a total of $20 billion has been agreed to for compensating individuals who have been discriminated against in the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle.

2.  Do I qualify for compensation, and if I do how much will I get?

The amount of compensation for individuals is being negotiated with the AFN, Government of Canada and other parties and will be determined as part of a Final Settlement Agreement, and is not final until it is approved by the Federal Court of Canada. There are four groups of people who qualify for compensation:

Children taken into care:

First Nations individuals who were under the age of majority who were taken into an out-of-home placement under the FNCFS Program between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022 and who were ordinarily resident on a reserve, or were living on-reserve or in the Yukon.

Jordan’s Principle:

First Nations individuals who were under the age of majority who were taken into an out-of-home placement under the FNCFS Program between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022 and who were ordinarily resident on a reserve, or were living on-reserve or in the Yukon.

All First Nations individuals who were under the age of majority and who, during the period between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017:

  • Were denied essential services and products relating to a confirmed need because of the Government of Canada’s failure to implement and uphold Jordan’s Principle, and/or
  • Were subjected to a delay in the receipt of essential services and products on grounds such as, but not limited to, lack of funding or a jurisdictional dispute between the federal and provincial/territorial governments.

Trout Class:

First Nations individuals who were under the age of majority and who, during the period between April 1, 1991 and December 11, 2007, did not receive an essential public service or product relating to a confirmed need, or whose receipt of said public service or product was delayed.

Family Class:

Individuals who are the primary caregiver of:

  • a member of the Removed Child Class at the time of removal;
  • a member of the Jordan’s Principle Class at the time of delay, denial or service gap; and/or
  • a member of the Trout Class at the time of delay, denial or service gap.

3.  When will I get compensation?

Compensation is not currently available. Individuals who qualify for compensation can expect payments to start by late 2022 or early 2023.

4.  How can I apply to get compensation?

There is no application process at this time. Details on the compensation process and application form will be determined in the Final Settlement Agreement and finalized after a decision by the Federal Court of Canada.

5.  When will a person who qualifies but is under the age of majority, receive compensation?

The AFN and other parties are working hard to get the compensation distributed by the end of 2022 or early 2023. First, the parties will need to negotiate the details of the Final Settlement Agreement. Following that will be a Notice of Certification of the settlement and the approval hearing.

6.  How will Survivors be supported if the compensation process is difficult for them?

The Government of Canada has agreed to pay for mental wellness supports, such as counselling, for Survivors as they go through the compensation process. This will be funded separately from the $20 billion for compensation.

The AFN is also advocating to have other types of support included in the Final

Settlement Agreement, including:

  • culturally appropriate health and wellness services
  • counselling on how to manage money, including saving and investing
  • helping youth who are aging out of the FNCFS Program reconnect with their First Nations

7.  Will the Assembly of First Nations be distributing compensation?

The AFN will not be distributing compensation. Distribution will likely be managed by an independent organization, as determined by the Federal Court of Canada.

Long-term reform of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle has a clear priority: the wellness of First Nations children, families, and communities.

Long-Term Reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and Jordan’s Principle

 

1.  How will the Assembly of First Nations consult with First Nations about long-term reform?

The AFN’s negotiations with the Government of Canada will be guided and informed by engagement with First Nations. The AFN will meet with leadership and First Nations to hear their views on reform. This will ensure that the reforms are relevant and responsive to the needs of First Nations children, families and communities across the country.

The AFN has shared the AIPs with Chiefs and First Nations. Once we have a Final Settlement Agreement on long-term reform, we will share the details with the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly. We are aiming for this to take place by the AFN Annual General Assembly in July 2022, or at a Special Chiefs Assembly called for this purpose at a later date.

2. How long will reform take?

Funding for long-term reform will be spread over five years. The AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties have committed to move ahead as quickly as possible. The Agreement-in-Principle on long-term reform outlines some immediate program reforms which will begin rolling out this year, such as additional prevention funding and extending supports for First Nations youth transitioning out of care up to and including age 25, which started in April 2022. Other reforms will take more time to design and implement.

3. How much money is there for reform?

The AIP with the Government of Canada include $19.807 billion in funding for long-term reform of the FNCFS Program and Jordan’s Principle. This is separate from the $20 billion in compensation.

4. What will long-term reform of the FNCFS Program include?

Long-term reform of the FNCFS Program will include:

  • A baseline amount to cover the actual costs of a child in care. This amount will be increased over time to match population growth, which will be determined by First Nations, and inflation.
  • Funding to address poverty, improve housing, ensure families have enough food and safe water, as well as meeting other challenges that can result in child and family services becoming involved.
  • Prevention funding for cultural and community-based programs and services that help First Nations children and families thrive.
  • Funding that considers the higher costs of providing services to First Nations in remote areas.
  • Capital and infrastructure funding to ensure that First Nations and FNCFS agencies have the funds they need to purchase, maintain, renovate and repair the buildings, vehicles, and other property they use to provide services to First Nations.
  • Information technology (IT) funds for FNCFS providers to buy, upgrade and maintain computers, hardware and software and other equipment.
  • Funds to support the implementation of the Measuring to Thrive framework and data system to measure, track and report on results.
  • Emergency funds for when an unexpected crisis puts additional demands on FNCFS.
  • Administrative funds for a First Nations-led, non-profit secretariat to support First Nations and FNCFS agencies with technical and operations support, as well as serving as a national-level data collector.
  • Funds for First Nations and Band Representative Services to ensure that child and family services are culturally appropriate and truly meet the needs of First Nations.

Full application of Jordan’s Principle

 

1.  What is Jordan’s Principle?

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first legal Principle that ensures First Nations children have access to the services and supports they need, no matter where they live, without delay or denial. Learn more about Jordan’s Principle here.

2. How will reform affect Jordan’s Principle?

The reforms will ensure full and proper implementation of Jordan’s Principle to support First Nations children.

This includes:

  • Ensuring it follows the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s orders, including eligibility, what is covered, and when. These changes will prevent delays, refusals and children falling through the cracks.
  • Funding to identify and close systemic gaps in essential services that adversely impact First Nations children.
  • Fixing problems people have had with Jordan’s Principle, like being asked for too much paperwork, or differences in the way it is applied across the country.
  • Funding to explore ways to support First Nations youth when they reach the age of majority to make sure they are connected with the services and support they need in adulthood.
  • Keeping the government accountable to First Nations about Jordan’s Principle by listening to complaints and quickly taking responsive action.
  • Exploring ways to support greater First Nations control over Jordan’s Principle service coordination, delivery and determinations.

Further Information

Individuals seeking additional information can call the Compensation Process and Support phone line at 1-888-718-6496. Additionally, you can email us at fnchildcompensation@afn.ca.

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