Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will announce a financial settlement with survivors of the Sixties Scoop tomorrow, CBC News has confirmed.
The Canadian Press reported Thursday that survivors would receive some $800 million as compensation, or between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant. CBC could not independently confirm that figure.
In February, after an eight-year court battle, an Ontario Superior Court judge has found that the federal government failed to prevent on-reserve children from losing their Indigenous identity after they were forcibly taken from their homes as part of what’s known as the Sixties Scoop.
Thousands of First Nations children were placed in non-Indigenous care between 1965 and 1984, which resulted in psychological harm that has dogged survivors into adulthood, Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in his ruling, siding with the plaintiffs.
Belobaba said Canada breached its “duty of care” to the children and ignored the damaging effects of the Ontario-led program.
Belobaba’s ruling in the class-action lawsuit paved the way for some sort of financial settlement, after Bennett said the federal government would not appeal the ruling.
There are lawsuits in other jurisdictions over similar programs that placed children in foster care or with adoptive parents.
The settlement to be announced Friday will be national in scope, and is expected to put an end to some 18 related lawsuits that are active throughout the country.
The reported settlement amount is less than the $1.3 billion the Ontario class-action lawsuit sought on behalf of about 16,000 Indigenous children in the province who claimed they were harmed by being placed in non-Indigenous homes under the terms of a federal-provincial child services agreement.
The plaintiffs argued — and Belobaba agreed — that Ottawa breached part of the agreement that required consultation with First Nations about the child welfare program.