AFN’s draft child-welfare reform deal with Ottawa reportedly worth $47.8B

The head of the Assembly of First Nations has informed chiefs that a draft deal with Ottawa on child-welfare reforms is worth $47.8 billion, a source who was in the room says — more than double what was initially promised.

National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak revealed that number to chiefs and their proxies on Tuesday afternoon, says the source, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to share the details publicly.

She also referred to the political risks of not accepting the deal that is on the table, the source said, and affirmed that she wanted chiefs to be able to discuss the offer before voting on the matter at a special assembly this fall.

The closed-door session, which members of the media were not allowed to attend, was part of the AFN’s annual general assembly being held in Montreal this week.A spokesperson for Woodhouse Nepinak would not immediately offer a comment when asked to confirm the source’s account and the $47.8-billion figure.

The federal government originally promised $20 billion for long-term reforms to the child welfare system, but Woodhouse Nepinak recently told The Canadian Press that the deal with Ottawa would likely top that amount.

That was part of a $43-billion settlement offer that resulted from a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that Ottawa discriminated against Indigenous kids by chronically underfunding child welfare services in First Nations.

The other $23 billion was set aside to compensate about 300,000 people harmed by a system that often placed kids in foster care instead of offering support to help families stay together.

On Tuesday morning, during opening remarks to chiefs that were broadcast publicly, Woodhouse Nepinak had said that she couldn’t say openly how much money was on the table. But she said she was “very happy” about the compensation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *