Statement on the Agreement-in-Principle with First Nations Organizations

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada welcomes the recent announcement by the Canadian government on the $40 billion agreement-in-principle on child welfare compensation with First Nations organizations.

This announcement will compensate those who were harmed by Canada’s discriminatory child welfare funding practices and will provide investments needed to fix the child welfare system in Canada.

We know that young Indigenous people in care face multiple barriers and frequently struggle with the legacy of intergenerational trauma, residential schools, and separation from families and communities.

This announcement by the federal government is an important step forward in acknowledging the historic harms experienced by First Nations children and families and will provide funds for long-term reforms to keep First Nations children with their families and communities.

While no amount of compensation can reverse the traumas that were experienced by First Nations children and families, this is a landmark agreement. It acknowledges the historic inequities and injustices of underfunding child welfare services in Canada and signals that we are on the path forward to healing and reconciliation.

We know that nothing can replace the warmth of a family or the teachings of an elder which is why we are heartened to learn that the federal government has committed to providing $20 billion in funding towards long-term reform of the child welfare system. It is essential that the necessary investments are made to ensure that all First Nations children have every opportunity to receive the support and care they need to stay with their families and communities.

We applaud the important first step with the agreement-in-principle and look forward to seeing a positive impact on the lives of all children and the end of ongoing discrimination in the child welfare system in Canada. While we cannot undo past injustices, we can take the necessary steps to ensure that future generations are provided the opportunities to thrive surrounded by their loved ones in their community and within their culture.

Valerie McMurtry, CFRE
President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada