September 2, 2022
Recently, the Federal Court of Canada certified a class action lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of off-reserve Indigenous children who were removed from their families and forced into non-Indigenous foster care between 1992 and 2019.
The class action seeks various damages, restitution, and recovery of specific costs on behalf of those affected by Canada’s Indigenous child welfare system.
Working alongside lead plaintiff Cheyenne Stonechild, a Nehiyaw (Cree) woman and a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation in southern Saskatchewan, Murphy Battista LLP lawyer Angela Bespflug, was quoted in Nation News saying,
“Canada has repeatedly failed to protect the Indigenous identity of off-reserve children. The Federal Court’s certification signals that Canada may finally be held to account for that. The decision is historic and signals an important shift in the law.”
In reference to the recent landmark $20 billion agreement to compensate on-reserve children and families affected by Canada’s discriminatory child welfare system, Angela noted that,
“Indigenous children are no less Indigenous because they live off-reserve. It is fundamentally wrong that Canada has agreed to compensate on-reserve children while leaving off-reserve children out in the cold.”
Angela also said that Canada needs to negotiate a resolution.
“Failing this, we will press forward with the litigation. Our goal is to not only obtain compensation for survivors but also – with the help of experts – to revamp Canada’s broken Indigenous child welfare system.”
Read the full article by clicking here.
Please visit our Indigenous Child Welfare Class Action page for more information on the class action.