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Ottawa spent at least $8 million on First Nations child welfare case: documents

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Ottawa has spent more than $8 million in legal fees in the ongoing human rights case over First Nations child welfare.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which filed the human rights complaint 13 years ago, obtained the documents through the Access to Information Act.

The total amount, first reported by APTN, differs from the $5.2 million cost estimate tabled in the House of Commons by Justice Minister David Lametti.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission ruled last fall that the federal government “wilfully and recklessly” discriminated against Indigenous children living on reserves by not properly funding child and family services and ordered Ottawa to compensate the children and their families.

The government has agreed its actions were discriminatory and has said compensation will be paid, but Ottawa is still challenging this ruling.

Blackstock says she believes the government has likely spent even more than $8 million on this case since she filed the complaint in 2007, and expressed disappointment that so much has been spent in court rather than immediately compensating Indigenous children and families.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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