The AMC Commends the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on Passing Two Resolutions to Advance Negotiations for Long Term Reform and Compensation for First Nations Children and Families
December 9, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is encouraged by two important resolutions passed this week at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa.
When the Canada Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) made the decision not to approve the $20 billion compensation agreement in October 2022, the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution directing the AFN Manitoba Regional Chief to request that Canada, in recognition of the harms that have been caused to First Nations children, make a commitment to continue to implement the enhancements to the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, including funding for prevention activities, supports for youth transitioning out of care into adulthood and for young adults, up to and including age 25, who were formerly in care, and First Nations representative services in Manitoba.
However, this week, the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly came together in support of children and families and to settle upon a unified approach to the First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout Class Settlement Agreement (FSA) and the Agreement-in-Principle on Long-Term Reform on the First Nations Child and Family Services Program (FNCFS) and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. As a result of passing the resolutions, the parties (AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society) will be able to formulate a revised Final Settlement Agreement (FSA) on Compensation to ensure the full implementation of the relevant CHRT Orders.
The first resolution passed pertaining to the Final Settlement Agreement on Compensation for First Nations Children and Families described First Nations’ support of the $40,000 to eligible victims and directs Canada to fund post-majority until community-based supports funded by Canada are adequate for all victims and to place the $20 billion compensation funds to be held in an interest-bearing account until a deal is made. It further directs AFN to seek a 12-month period after the revised FSA is completed to determine their participation and to provide further progress reports on any implementation issues that may arise.
“This is a very encouraging and positive step forward,” states Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The resolutions passed this week enable the parties to ensure compensation will be made available to all impacted First Nation children and families as originally intended in the CHRT Orders.”
The second resolution pertaining to Reforms to the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and Jordan’s Principle includes directing Canada to ensure that funding and service delivery is based on the best interests of the child, is culturally appropriate and honours the distinct needs of each First Nation, as well as ensuring that measures for Long-Term Reform do not disrupt current funding levels, keep with the principles of sovereignty and nation-to-nation building, and also directs Canada to increase funding commitments beyond the $20 billion and to extend timeframes for parties signing the FSA.
First Nations Family Advocate Cora Morgan shares, “this is an important measure – when the news broke regarding the FSA last month, you could feel the energy quickly change, and families were worried about losing access to compensation. I look forward to sharing this positive news, and while there is still work to be done, I hope these measures offer the reassurance needed to move forward in a good way”.
Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair was a vital contributor in ensuring the parties came to a mediated decision by taking a collaborative approach to rectifying conflicting resolutions.
“This is a process that requires transparency, and ongoing, committed cooperation from all invested parties. I look forward to discussing this further and wish to express my gratitude to everyone for coming to the table with the best interest of the children and families at the forefront of their mind,” shared Grand Chief Merrick.
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Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.