(Toronto, ON – January 4, 2022) The Chiefs of Ontario have signed an Agreement-in-Principle to chart a path to address the chronic and discriminatory underfunding of First Nations Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Assembly of First Nations, Chiefs of Ontario, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation have been active in these negotiations given their role as parties in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal proceedings. After careful consideration, the Chiefs of Ontario Leadership Council voted to approve this Agreement-in-Principle.
“This Agreement-in-Principle is the beginning of addressing the systemic racism and systemic barriers faced by First Nations families and children for generations. We’ve worked tirelessly in these ongoing negotiations with Canada to reform the chronic and discriminatory underfunding of First Nations Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle. It is our intent to ensure First Nations children and families are happy, healthy and supported for years to come,” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare. “As Ontario Regional Chief, the health and wellbeing of First Nations children and families remain of top priority and we will continue our advocacy efforts to ensure our citizens are no longer subject to a system designed to assimilate First Nations.”
The Agreement-in-Principle will initiate long-term reforms that ensure First Nations-led, culturally appropriate supports and prevention services are available to families. It will also increase funding available for First Nation Representative services and will provide culturally-grounded protection approaches that will allow First Nations youth to remain connected to their language and culture, safely within their homes and communities.
“While this is an important milestone and paves the way for more detailed work on a Final Settlement Agreement, there is still much work to be done to ensure First Nations children and families are able to thrive in an environment that is inclusive and supportive to their needs. I look forward to continuing these discussions through proper collaboration with the federal government to end discrimination and systemic racism against First Nations children,” said Regional Chief Glen Hare.
“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to addressing discrimination in child welfare and achieving substantive equality for First Nations children. It also marks the beginning of an important journey to ensure all First Nations have a solid foundation for moving forward and improving quality of life for future generations,” said Grand Chief Joel Abram. “On behalf of the Leadership Council, we call upon the government of Canada, and all Canadians, to see this through.”
“Additionally, I would like to first thank the survivors and their families for their bravery in sharing their lived experiences and stories. We stand with you and will continue to ensure your voices are heard and honoured.”
More information about the Agreement-in-Principle and the negotiations to a Final Settlement Agreement will be made available to First Nations leadership in Ontario in the coming months.
In addition to the work for long-term reform of the child welfare system, a settlement has also been reached to compensate individuals affected by the years of discrimination in the child welfare system and because of Canada’s implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The Chiefs of Ontario is not directly involved in the settlement of compensation but supports the survivors of the child welfare system and congratulates them on the successful settlement.
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare
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The Chiefs of Ontario supports all First Nations in Ontario as they assert their sovereignty, jurisdiction and their chosen expression of nationhood. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ChiefsOfOntario.
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