(Ottawa) The long legal battle for justice for Indigenous children taken from their families is coming to an end. Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations have endorsed a new $23 billion settlement negotiated with the federal government. They are also demanding a public apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“For 17 years, the issue of compensation for children harmed by the [social services] system has been shoveled forward again and again,” said Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse. , at a press conference.

A first agreement of 20 billion concluded in January 2022 had been rejected by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal because it excluded certain children who were entitled to compensation. The federal government and First Nations representatives therefore returned to the negotiating table to reach an agreement that provides for an additional $3 billion.

“We’re talking, yes, today, about historic sums even from a global perspective, but we’re also talking about historic wrongs that go back to the 1990s,” Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said at a conference. Press.

Hundreds of thousands of children have been removed from their families by social services for decades on grounds of discrimination. Approximately 300,000 children, young adults and their families will be able to access this money. The settlement will apply to those who were victims from April 1, 1991 to March 31, 2022. Their parents or guardians may also receive compensation.

The envelope will also be used for those who did not receive the health care they should have received due to jurisdictional disputes, before and after the House of Commons passed Jordan’s Principle. This stipulated that Indigenous children should get the services they need first, when there is a dispute between the federal government and a provincial government or between two departments as to who will foot the bill. However, the federal government has interpreted it narrowly for years.

The agreement must be ratified by both the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court. Both bodies had decided in favor of the Aboriginal children when the dispute between the First Nations and the federal government was presented to them.