Settlement to provide compensation to 60's scoop children, create a foundation
- EFN Staff | October 11, 2017
Indigenous survivors of the Sixties Scoop will be looking at a $800M settlement from the federal government. On October 6, the Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett made an official announcement along with Marcia Brown Martel, Stewart Garnett, Priscilla Meeches, Catriona Charlie, Peter Van Name, Sarah Tanchak, and Jessica Riddle that an Agreement-in-Principle aimed at resolving Sixties Scoop litigation has been reached.
“The Sixties Scoop was a dark painful chapter in Canada’s history. The survivors have identified the loss of language and culture, and therefore their identity, as the greatest harm,” said Minister Bennett in a media release. “The creation of a foundation will directly address the need for survivors to claim a secure personal cultural identity.”
Negotiations between the Canadian government and the plaintiffs legal counsel have been continuous throughout the past few months to resolve this litigation in a way to promote healing and reconciliation.
The Agreement-in-Principle will also include individual compensation. Survivors are expected to receive $25,000 if there are more than 20,000 claimants – however if there are less than the indicated number then claimants will receive $50,000. The agreement is expected to be finalized by both parties by the end of the year with expectations of a fair hearing aimed for Spring 2018.
A Sixties Scoop survivor living in Regina, who asked to remain anonymous, said there’s no amount of money that can possibly make up for the loss of one’s culture, language and family connection.
“My hope is that some of that money is dedicated to putting programming in place that ensures that no child [will] ever have to experience what we went through,” she said. “You can’t keep using money as a band-aid fix and think the problems created will just quietly go away.”
This litigation is a direct response to Call to Action number 29 in the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) report, which calls on “the federal government, to work collaboratively with plaintiffs…to have disputed legal issues determined expeditiously on an agreed set of facts,” as stated in the TRC report.
A foundation, which will be managed independently of the federal government, will also be included in the settlement. The foundation will include healing, wellness, language, culture and commemoration – accessible for all Indigenous people.
Last mid-February, an Ontario judge ruled in favour with the province’s Sixties Scoop survivor’s class-action lawsuit where he said the liability of the federal government was focused from the class members in which the class action will proceed to the damage stages.
The Sixties Scoop refers to a time period when Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in foster care starting in the 1960s. According to the Canadian Child Welfare Research, “approximately 63% of children in care were Aboriginal in Saskatchewan…the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children within the Saskatchewan child welfare system continues today.”