OTTAWA — The Federal Court has dismissed Ottawa's attempts to appeal a pair of rulings about providing services and compensation to First Nations children.

In September 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled Ottawa didn't properly fund child and family services, which resulted in it "wilfully and recklessly" discriminating against Indigenous children living on reserve.

It ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 each to about 50,000 First Nations children as well as their relatives, but the Liberal government appealed the ruling.

The second legal battle stems from a separate ruling in November 2020 that expanded the scope of Jordan's Principle, which is a rule stating when there is jurisdictional disagreement over what level of government should provide a service to First Nations children, Ottawa takes on the responsibility.

"No one can seriously doubt that First Nations people are amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalized members of Canadian society," Justice Paul Favel wrote in his decision released Wednesday. "The Tribunal was aware of this and reasonably attempted to remedy the discrimination while being attentive to the very different positions of the parties."

Favel found that the government failed to establish that either of the tribunal's decisions were unreasonable.

"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," Favel wrote.

"The parties must decide whether they will continue to sit beside the trail or move forward in this spirit of reconciliation."

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, which is one of the parties fighting for Indigenous children to be compensated, says the judicial reviews Ottawa launched took direct aim at central calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada regarding child welfare and Jordan's Principle.

The Federal Court has dismissed Ottawa's attempts to appeal a pair of rulings about providing services and compensation to First Nations children. #FirstNations #IndigenousRights

"This is the moment for Canadians, with the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation tomorrow and knowing that these are some of the top calls to action, to get ahold of their elected officials and say, 'put down your sword.'"

"They have been fighting this case against First Nations kids to get equitable services and their families to get help to recover from the residential school trauma for now 14 and a half years … the Canadian people are now at a place where they want to see the TRC calls to action realized."

Opposition parties and Indigenous leaders have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to fight both of these rulings, saying that's not the appropriate course of action for a government committed to reconciliation.

“Today was an absolute victory for First Nation children. For six years Justin Trudeau spent millions fighting the rights of Indigenous children and trying to overturn a ruling that found his government guilty of 'wilful and reckless' discrimination against vulnerable Indigenous kids. The court has thrown his case out," NDP MP Charlie Angus said in a statement Wednesday.

He called for the government to immediately end its legal battle in the matter and focus on closing funding gaps and chronic denial of services to First Nations children.

"Given that tomorrow is the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is imperative that the federal government finally take clear steps towards truth, justice and reconciliation for all Indigenous people in Canada," he wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2021.

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This article is unbalanced. It quotes reactions by parties who opposed the Government's appeal and by opposition parties but not from the federal government.

There are six years' worth of blathering from the Feds about this ridiculous appeal. Their quotes are not new, nor are they news.

So you're saying that balanced journalism needn't seek comment from the federal government, because, in your mind, they are completely discredited? That's the essence of unbalanced journalism.
Also the idea that the government is in any way trying to interfere with compensation of Indigenous children is nonsense. The government is committed to compensating those children fully.

I do think it would have been a good idea to have some quote from a government flack in there.
But I'd say when an appeal FROM THE GOVERNMENT doesn't just lose in court (a government-funded and generally pretty government-friendly body), but is dismissed before it gets to trial, that counts as its stance being discredited. Pretty completely, even.
As to whether the government is committed to compensating those children fully . . . if it wanted to, say, establish the principle/precedent that it should not be forced to compensate anyone, but still wanted to compensate the children, it could have just given them the bloody money and THEN launched its court challenge. It did not do so.

I wish that the reasons that the Federal Government appealed this decision had been given in this article. Yes, I am capable of searching for them but a properly written article would have provided the reasons for the appeal and not just the opposition parties current disapproval. As an online newspaper (and one that I increasingly rely on) there is no need to consider how much space the article takes. We look to our news sources to give us a factual account of events including ALL the information and, increasingly, provide links to where to go for more in depth information, should we wish to investigate further.

The article lacks substance.
Federal Government is not “fighting compensation.”

What's it doing, then? I wouldn't think years long court battles to prevent compensation would count as, say, STRUGGLING HARD TO GRANT compensation.