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Feds appeal ruling ordering compensation for First Nations children denied welfare 

The Federal Government has filed an appeal of a recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered the government to compensate First Nations children who were discriminated against by the child welfare system.

The appeal has asked for the tribunal’s decision to be set aside and the claim for monetary compensation be dismissed. It asked for “an order setting aside the Tribunal’s decision and referring the matter to the Tribunal for determination in accordance with the directions of this Court.” The appeal also asked for “further and other relief” that the Court might deem appropriate.

The appeal serves as bad news for over 50,000 children who were apprehended or denied welfare services, who the government was ordered to compensate $40,000, will probably receive nothing. The CHRT stated in its initial ruling released on September 6 that, “Canada’s conduct was wilful and reckless resulting in what we have referred to as a worst-case scenario under our Act.”

The government appeal claims the tribunal erred in six ways, including in ordering monetary compensation for First Nations Children, their parents or grandparents under the Canadian Human Rights Act, both “for the necessary or unnecessary removal of children in the child welfare system” and “for children who experienced gaps, delays and denials of services that would have been available under Jordan’s principle.” They state the error lies in the “nature of the complaint before the Tribunal and the evidence presented.”

The appeal also blamed the tribunal of having erred in determining that “discrimination is ongoing” with respect to funding for child and family services on reserve and in the Yukon, and in establishing a compensation payment process that requires that the tribunal retain jurisdiction, allowing them to establish new categories for “persons who may receive compensation.”

According to the filing, the errors “were made without jurisdiction or beyond the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, denied procedural fairness to the Applicant, erroneously relied on factual material, erroneously interpreted provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act or were otherwise unreasonable.”

The ruling comes short of 20 days before the federal election. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer had said yesterday that he would seek a judicial review of the compensation if he were in power. Meanwhile, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has responded the update and said, Prime Minister and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau “should have accepted this ruling.” He added, “Mr Trudeau has failed Indigenous kids once again.”

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