Manitoba First Nations group launches class action lawsuit against province and federal government

A Manitoba First Nations advocacy group has launched a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against the province and federal government over the removal of “off-reserve” children by child protection officers in the past three last decades.

On October 6, the Family Advocacy Office of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) filed a statement against the Manitoba government and the Attorney General of Canada – an action that the AMC says is the “ first specific to “off-reserve” children…who have been apprehended by Child and Family Services and placed in foster care.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of First Nations children, families and communities impacted by Manitoba’s child welfare system, would cover arrests from 1992 to present, according to a Press release.

AMC and Other Plaintiffs Seek $1 Billion in Compensation; “an immediate end to the discriminatory practices that apprehend so many First Nations children”; recognition that the welfare of First Nations children must be enshrined in First Nations laws; and “properly funded services” for First Nations children.

“There are approximately 11,000 children in the child welfare system in Manitoba, 80% of whom are First Nations and many of these children are apprehended off reserve,” says the CMA.

He goes on to allege that the province’s child welfare system has affected three groups: children, their families and their First Nations.

“All three groups must be represented in order to advance restorative justice and ensure that the tragic mistakes of the past are not repeated,” continues the CMA.

“As our collective action makes clear: Manitoba’s and Canada’s disastrous management of child welfare in this province continues a longstanding effort to assimilate First Nations children,” said Deputy Grand Chief of the CMA, Cornell McLean. “Under the guise of providing care, Manitoba and Canada have used discriminatory practices to destroy First Nations families and nations. This action is intended to end the harm, as well as compensation to help us heal as a nation.

The AMC alleges that First Nations children in Manitoba’s foster care system have been prevented from learning “distinct and sacred teachings,” essential spiritual guidance, and from taking pride in their “true identity and culture.”

“This continued practice leads First Nations children to fail in adulthood, where they are disproportionately vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, disease, poor school performance, human trafficking, gang recruitment and involvement in the criminal justice system. ”

A request to AMC for comment and additional information was not returned by press time.

The Manitoba government was also invited to comment. However, a provincial spokesperson had little to say about it.

“We have been notified of the lawsuit and will review it,” they said in an email to The lawyer’s daily life. “The province’s response will be made in court in due course.”

The filing of AMC’s statement comes just months after the federal government reached a $20 billion settlement with the Assembly of First Nations and other plaintiffs involving compensation for young people who were allegedly harmed and victimized. discrimination by the child protection system.

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Jon J. Epps