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 compensation and reform and the final settlement agreement on compensation.
On this page
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:
- compensation for First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon who were removed from their homes, and those impacted by the government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle, including for their parents and caregivers
- long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and a renewed approach to Jordan's Principle, in order to eliminate discrimination and to provide reform to Indigenous Services Canada to prevent the discrimination from recurring
Who the parties are
The parties involved in the negotiation of the long-term reform final settlement agreement are:
- Government of Canada
- Assembly of First Nations
- First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
- Chiefs of Ontario
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission continue to have standing before the CHRT.
The parties involved in the final settlement agreement on compensation are:
- Government of Canada
- the Assembly of First Nations
- plaintiffs in the Moushoom class action (represented by counsel)
- plaintiffs in the Trout class action (represented by counsel)
Work on final settlement agreements
Since reaching these agreements-in-principle, Canada and the parties have worked towards final and binding settlement agreements on:
- 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
- other initiatives undertaken by Indigenous Services Canada
While work on long-term reform continues with the parties, a final settlement agreement on compensation has been reached.
Under the compensation agreement, Canada will fund a package of trauma-informed health and cultural supports for class members and their families. These supports will be modelled after the supports provided in the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. This will be available to class members and include:
- access to emotional and cultural health support workers
- access to professional counselling
- a trauma- and culturally-informed crisis and emotional support line
Supports for children, youth, and families focused on their particular needs will be available. They will be aligned with the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, which is widely endorsed and developed with First Nations partners.
Eligible First Nations seeking immediate emotional support can contact the Hope for Wellness Help Line, toll-free: 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.
For more information:
Who is eligible?
The final settlement agreement 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.
Now that a final settlement agreement has been reached, the next steps are:
- asking the CHRT to confirm that the agreement satisfies its compensation orders
- seeking Federal Court approval of 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 about the final settlement agreement on compensation. You may wish to consult the websites of the Assembly of First Nations and of Sotos Class Actions:
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 that is focused on culturally appropriate prevention activities and based on substantive equality and the best interests and needs of First Nations children, youth, young adults, and families
- use of evidence-informed well-being indicators for First Nations children, youth, families and First Nations to inform best practices and improve federal child and family services policies, procedures, agreements, and legislation over time
- child and family services funding to support young First Nations adults aging out of the child welfare system and formerly in care up to their 26th birthday birthday or the age for post-majority services specified in the applicable provincial or Yukon legislation (whichever age is greater)
- funding for prevention services to build on multi-generational cultural strengths to help children and families stay together
- funding to expand First Nations Representative Services to all provinces and in the Yukon
- new funding for housing on reserves in relation to the needs of First Nations children
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:
Why long-term reform is 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.
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 that were implemented on 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, or the age for post-majority services specified in the applicable provincial or Yukon legislation, whichever age is greater)
- 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.
On April 1, 2022, Canada began implementing enhancements to the First Nations Child and Family Services program. These include funding for post-majority support services up to the age of 26, funding for First Nations representative services and increased prevention funding in all provinces and the Yukon.
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 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:
Funding for capital assets: Jordan's Principle and First Nations child and family services
Thank you for your feedback