Ottawa announces $800M settlement with Indigenous survivors of Sixties Scoop

October 6, 2017

The Canadian government has reached an agreement in principle worth $800 million with survivors of the Sixties Scoop, Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced Friday morning.

She said the move will "begin to right the wrongs" caused by forcibly removing Indigenous children from their birth families.

"They have lived their lives not being able to be proud Indigenous people," Bennett said of the survivors. "They have lived their lives not having secure personal cultural identity. That was robbed away. Someone thought that a non-Indigenous family somewhere else in the world was going to do a better job."

Indigenous survivors from as far away as Scotland, northern California, and many places in between, were on hand for the landmark announcement Friday.

Bennett said a final agreement still has to be reached, but the government has set aside $750 million for individual compensation. They've earmarked another $50 million for a foundation dedicated to reconciliation initiatives.

All First Nations and Inuit children who were removed from their homes — and lost their cultural identities as a result — between 1951 and 1991 are entitled to compensation. If there are more than 20,000 claimants, each individual will receive a payout of $25,000 and if there are fewer than 20,000 each claimant will receive up to a maximum of $50,000.

The government is putting aside an additional $75 million for legal fees.

Bennett said the government secured a commitment from lawyers that they wouldn't go back to survivors demanding more money, a solution designed to avoid one of the major pitfalls of the Indian residential school settlement in which many students faced huge legal bills after receiving their compensation.

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