Long-term reform of First Nations Child and Family Services and long-term approach for Jordan's Principle

Agreements-in-principle on child and family services reform and compensation for discriminatory underfunding.

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What are agreements-in-principle?

On January 4, 2022, the Government of Canada and the parties to the complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) regarding the First Nations Child and Family Services program and Jordan's Principle, and the parties to 2 Federal Court class actions announced that agreements-in-principle were reached on a global resolution for:

These are not final agreements. Canada and the respective parties are now working to reach final and binding settlement agreements on both compensation and long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program. The long-term reform final agreement will also support a renewed approach to Jordan's Principle and other initiatives undertaken by Indigenous Services Canada.

Work to reach final settlement agreements is underway. More information will become available as discussions continue.

Who are the parties?

The parties involved in the negotiation of the Long-Term Reform Final Settlement Agreement are:

Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission continue to have standing before the CHRT.

The parties involved in the negotiation of the Compensation Final Settlement Agreement are:


Who is eligible?

The agreement-in-principle on compensation provides for $20 billion for children who:

  • were removed from their homes under the First Nations Child and Family Services Program between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2022 (as confirmed by 2022 CHRT 8, issued on March 24, 2022)
  • were impacted by the government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017
  • as children, did not receive or were delayed in receiving an essential public service or product between April 1, 1991 and December 11, 2007

Some caregivers of the children above may also be eligible for compensation.

The agreement-in-principle is one step in a longer legal process to compensate those harmed. Compensation will not be available until the parties complete a final settlement agreement, the CHRT confirms that it is deemed to have satisfied the CHRT compensation orders, and the Federal Court approves the settlement.

The parties are committed to ensuring that the process advances as quickly as possible.

We know that there are a lot of questions surrounding this agreement-in-principle. Specific details concerning the compensation payout are not yet known, as the details must still be established through negotiations between class action counsel and Canada.

You may also wish to consult the websites of the Assembly of First Nations and of Sotos Class Actions:

Details about how compensation will be distributed will be shared once a final settlement agreement is reached in the class actions.

Long-term reform

The agreement-in-principle on long-term reform includes approximately $20 billion over the first 5 years for long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program to ensure that the discrimination found by the CHRT does not happen again. This includes:

Funding for child and family services will go to First Nations and to First Nations child and family service providers to deliver a range of services to children and families in their communities.

First Nations affirming their jurisdiction under the framework provided in the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, will not receive less funding than they would have received under the reformed approach. Funding beyond the next 5 years will be determined through an approach set out in the Final Settlement Agreement.

For more information:

Executive Summary of Agreement-in-Principle on Long-Term Reform

Why is long-term reform needed

For child and family services, the goal is to design, test and implement an evidence-informed funding approach to ensure First Nations children, youth and families have access to culturally-based and substantively equal public services that meet their needs and community circumstances.

The new evidence-informed funding approach will provide First Nations and First Nations-authorized service providers non-discriminatory, stable, predictable funding to deliver the services and supports to promote family wellness and address the factors linked to the dramatic over-representation of First Nations children in care.

Examples of these services include culturally appropriate interventions and supports for children and young people with high needs through services such as counselling, respite and youth workers, and supports for parents experiencing multi-generational trauma and/or addictions such as family-based treatment, cultural supports and family reunification.

For Jordan's Principle, the longer term goal is to design, test and implement a long-term approach to ensure there is no discrimination in the provision of health, social services and education supports, services and products for First Nations children and youth. Substantive equality and culturally appropriate interventions that respond to the unique needs of First Nations children and youth must be preserved.

Next steps

Canada and the parties to the agreement-in-principle will continue to work together to reach a final settlement agreement on long-term reform.

Once a final settlement is reached and the necessary CHRT orders are made, measures will be implemented to:

  • better meet the needs of First Nations children, youth, and families;
  • prevent Canada's discriminatory underfunding and narrow application of Jordan's Principle from recurring.

The agreement-in-principle provides for some key elements of the reformed First Nations Child and Family Services program to be implemented as of April 1, 2022. These include:

  • funding to support young First Nations adults aging out of the child welfare system and formerly in care (up to their 26th birthday);
  • prevention services to build on the multi-generational cultural strengths to help children and families stay safely together;
  • First Nations Representative services in all provinces and in the Yukon.

Once a final settlement is reached, other reforms will be implemented more fully starting on April 1, 2023.

Immediate measures

On April 1, 2022, Canada began implementing enhancements to the First Nations Child and Family Services program. These include funding for post-majority care up to the age of 26, funding for First Nations representative services and increased prevention funding in all provinces and the Yukon.

Learn more:

Post-majority care services for First Nations youth and young adults

First Nations Representative Services Guide

New funding for on-reserve housing to support prevention initiatives

Subject to the Final Settlement Agreement on long-term reform, Canada has agreed to establish a fund of $2 billion, distributed over 5 years, for First Nations to purchase, construct or renovate housing units in their communities in relation to the needs of First Nations children.

This is in addition to the $1.66 billion in housing investments that have been made since 2016 to address housing needs on reserves. We recognize more work needs to be done and we will continue to work in partnership with First Nations so that they have access to adequate, safe and affordable housing.

Capital assets funding

On November 16, 2021, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued 2021 CHRT 41, which was amended on January 18, 2022. This decision contains orders for Canada to fund the purchase and construction of capital assets for the delivery of First Nations child and family services on reserve and in the Yukon or for the delivery of services under Jordan's Principle to First Nations children on-reserve, in the Northwest Territories and in the Yukon.

To learn more, including who is eligible and how to apply, consult:

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