Win for Indigenous Children – Federal Court Dismisses Canada’s Attempts to Evade Responsibility for Discrimination against Indigenous Children and Families
Today, September 29th, 2021, Justice Paul Favel of the Federal Court of Canada issued a 111-page decision rejecting Canada’s efforts to overturn several key decisions of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (“CHRT”).
The Federal Court upheld the CHRT’s decisions, finding that Canada had discriminated against Indigenous children and families through the underfunding of child welfare services, and failure to abide by Jordan’s Principle. The Federal Court upheld the CHRT’s decisions to award maximum compensation for pain and suffering, as well as special compensation for wilful and reckless discrimination.
There was a total of 5 compensation decisions of the CHRT that Canada was seeking to have overturned, in addition to two decisions on the definition of ‘First Nations Child’ for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle.
The Federal Court rejected both of Canada’s applications for judicial review, thereby finding that the Tribunal’s responsive remedies in an unprecedented Indigenous child welfare case are reasonable. Justice Favel concluded his decision by remarking on reconciliation, stating:
 In my view, the procedural history of this case has demonstrated that there is, and has been, good will resulting in significant movements toward remedying this unprecedented discrimination. However, the good work of the parties is unfinished. The parties must decide whether they will continue to sit beside the trail or move forward in this spirit of reconciliation.
A copy of Justice Pavel’s decision can be found here.
https://falconers.ca/nishnawbe-aski-nation-service-gaps-place-indigenous-children-at-risk-of-harm/ – June 17, 2021
https://falconers.ca/canada-says-its-not-fighting-indigenous-children-in-court-but-is-spending-a-week-in-court-trying-to-duck-an-obligation-to-pay-compensation-to-indigenous-children/ – June 11, 2021 (includes all parties’ filed facta)