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Canada’s Federal Court Just Dismissed Trudeau’s Indigenous Child-Welfare Appeals

It upheld the ruling that Canada's government "wilfully and recklessly" discriminated against Indigenous children. 👇

Canada’s Federal Court Just Dismissed Trudeau’s Indigenous Child-Welfare Appeals

Canada's federal court has officially dismissed two legal challenges from Justin Trudeau's government, paving the way for billions to be paid in compensation to First Nations children who faced discrimination in the welfare system.

On Wednesday, September 29, the court found that the feds had "not succeeded" in their appeals and ruled that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's original findings were reasonable.

Back in 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the feds had "wilfully" and "recklessly" discriminated against Indigenous children living on reserves by underfunding child and family services.

The tribunal ordered payouts of $40,000 for each First Nations child that, after 2006, was forced to be separated from their home to access the services they needed. The Canadian Press reports that as many as 54,000 children and their parents could be eligible for the compensation, potentially costing the feds more than $2 billion.

It was a decision that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appealed, saying that his cabinet wanted to "make sure we're getting compensation right".

The court also considered a separate appeal related to Jordan's Principle, which says that First Nations children shouldn't face delays in care while governments decide who will take responsibility for associated costs. It was named after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. He died in hospital after "federal and provincial governments could not agree on who should pay for his home-based care."

However, on Wednesday, the federal court ruled that in both cases the original ruling was fair and said the federal government had "not succeeded in establishing that the compensation decision is unreasonable."

The judge added, "No one can seriously doubt that First Nations people are amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalized members of Canadian society."

"The Tribunal was aware of this and reasonably attempted to remedy the discrimination while being attentive to the very different positions of the parties."

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-855-242-3310, or visit their website to chat.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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