OTTAWA — The Federal Court has dismissed Ottawa’s attempts to appeal a pair of rulings about providing services and compensation to First Nations children.
In September 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled Ottawa didn’t properly fund child and family services, which resulted in it “wilfully and recklessly” discriminating against Indigenous children living on reserve.
It ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 each to about 50,000 First Nations children as well as their relatives, but the Liberal government appealed the ruling.
The second legal battle stems from a separate ruling in November 2020 that expanded the scope of Jordan’s Principle, which is a rule stating when there is jurisdictional disagreement over what level of government should provide a service to First Nations children, Ottawa takes on the responsibility.
Opposition parties and Indigenous leaders have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to fight both of these rulings, saying that’s not the appropriate course of action for a government committed to reconciliation.
In June, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion brought forward by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asking the federal government to abandon its legal challenges against First Nations children.