Feds to announce payout of up to $800M to Indigenous victims of '60s Scoop - APTN NewsAPTN News

Feds to announce payout of up to $800M to Indigenous victims of ’60s Scoop


The Canadian Press
TORONTO – The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ’60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families, The Canadian Press has learned.

The national settlement with an estimated 20,000 victims, to be announced Friday by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, is aimed at resolving numerous related lawsuits, most notable among them a successful class action in Ontario.

Confidential details of the agreement include a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million, sources said.

In addition, sources familiar with the deal said the government would set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation, a key demand of the representative plaintiff in Ontario, Marcia Brown Martel.

Spokespeople for both Bennett and the plaintiffs would only confirm an announcement was pending Friday, but refused to elaborate.

“The (parties) have agreed to work towards a comprehensive resolution and discussions are in progress,” Bennett’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “As the negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we cannot provide further information at this time.”

The sources said the government has also agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees – estimated at about $75 million – separately, meaning the full amount of the settlement will go to the victims and the healing centre, to be established in the coming months, sources said.

The settlement would be worth at least $800 million and include Inuit victims, the sources said. The final amount is less than the $1.3 billion Brown Martel had sought for victims of the Ontario Scoop in which at-risk on-reserve Indigenous children were placed in non-Aboriginal homes from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.

In an unprecedented class action begun in 2009, Brown Martel, chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation, maintained the government had been negligent in protecting her and about 16,000 other on-reserve children from the lasting harm they suffered from being alienated from their heritage.

Brown Martel, a member of the Temagami First Nation near Kirkland Lake, Ont., was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family. She later discovered the Canadian government had declared her original identity dead.

Her lawsuit, among some 17 others in Canada, is the only one to have been certified as a class action. Her suit sparked more than eight years of litigation in which the government fought tooth and nail against the claim.

However, in February, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba sided with Brown Martel, finding the government liable for the harm the ’60s Scoop caused. Belobaba was firm in rejecting the government’s arguments that the 1960s were different times and that it had acted with good intentions in line with prevailing standards.

While Bennett said at the time she would not appeal the ruling and hoped for a negotiated settlement with all affected Indigenous children, federal lawyers appeared to be trying to get around Belobaba’s ruling. Among other things, they attempted to argue individuals would have to prove damages on a case-by-case basis.

A court hearing to determine damages in the Ontario action, scheduled for three days next week, has been scrapped in light of the negotiated resolution, which took place under Federal Court Judge Michel Shore.

One source said some aspects of the many claims might still have to be settled but called Friday’s announcement a “significant” step toward resolving the ’60s Scoop issue – part of the Liberal government’s promise under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people a priority.

Jeffery Wilson, one of Brown Martel’s lawyers, has previously said the class action was the first anywhere to recognize the importance of a person’s cultural heritage and the individual harm caused when it is lost.

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6 Responses to “Feds to announce payout of up to $800M to Indigenous victims of ’60s Scoop”

  1. Bridgesark@gmail.com'
    Bridget October 10, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

    As a baby I was adopted into a strick Roman Catholic family from Liverpool England but were residing in Ontario and came to pick me up from Summerside Prince Edward Island .
    I knew I was aboriginal because they told me when i was young after I noticed all my brothers were all blond/blue eyed. But i ended up feeling ashamed because they threatened to send me back to the reserve – so I grew up thinking it was a bad place. I had not experienced culture -the odd beading gift -until 10years ago when my 4 month old daughters father died and randomly someone fromNCFST taught me how to smudge when I walked in for guidance. My learning & path then began and I decided to go back to college and graduated from Community and Justice Services Program and am now on their Program Advisory Commitee. I then became the volunteer coordinator and then the Aboriginal Provincial Youth Outreach Worker for Native Child and Family Services Of Toronto. I believe my past literally launched me on this path after dealing with my father who was brutally physically abusive on a daily basis to all of us except that one brother (?)and it progressed into something darker just before I moved out.

    One of their natural sons sexually abused me too but from a little girl till was 16 and i subsequently was kicked out because my foster sister that had left a year earlier told the police. My parents chose to believe my brother. I spend 26 years away from that house by myself .. no holidays .. nothing… and only recently gone back by request because my dad is dying. I forgave them all years ago.
    Creator helped me heal from this. NOW after having a stroke in December life has really put a bump on this path for me and I have nothing but time to research what went wrong and how can I be compensated even a little..or will I fall into a category where do I deserve it or not again?! I’m hoping this book I’m plugging away at will be welcomed and help me pay off loans that I completely messed up due to dealing with my own demons and mental health and causing immense roadblocks for me.
    Either way we all have our 60’s scoop stories.. How can we all be heard and included?

    The Milkmans Daughter

  2. Marthajourdain54@gmail.com'
    Martha jourdain October 10, 2017 at 1:40 am #

    I live in the united states i left canada in 1985 but i was in foster homes and went to catholic schools since i was 5 or 6 put in foster care they took me from my mom .. i ran away from the foster home they wrre christians and they pushed me into learning there way ,,,and also when i went to school i wasnt allowed to even try speak ojibwe they told me not to talk that jibberish here

  3. bastudent1959@gmail.com'
    Betty Ann Blanchard (nee Mountain) October 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    I have a claim with a lawyer in Vancouver B.C. for the 60’s scoop, I wonder now if all the lawyers that have taken names or signed us up, will get this done for us of are we suppose to sign up again under a new lawyer for the 60’s scoop case?.

  4. fleuryjayson@yahoo.ca'
    Eagle claw October 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    I do not agree with this so called settlement it is another slap in the face by this Federal Govt…I have a lawsuit here in Alberta and did not agree to anything else and was never consulted on these matters in terms of a National settlement….

    • newnham55@gmail.com'
      Bernice Newnham October 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      I think the government should cover our lawyer’s, this is so wrong that we are still paying for what the government did to us as a human being.( just because our skin isn’t white

  5. jules-kelly@hotmail.ca'
    Jules Lidguerre October 5, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    Is this include Indian Day School? In saskatchewan.Thanks.