Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
Advocates for indigenous children expressed disappointment over the government's appeal
Canada has asked the federal court to overturn a decision that asks for awarding billions in compensation to indigenous children as it said that it would seek to negotiate a deal. This comes after last month a top court ordered C$40,000 payouts to each child who was a part of the on-reserve welfare system after 2006.
This is the maximum allowed compensation under Canadian Human Rights Act. With some exceptions, parents and grandparents of the children were also eligible for compensation.
Canada said that it believes the payments are necessary, but would rather iron out the details in talks.
In its notice, Ottawa said it "acknowledges the finding of systemic discrimination and does not oppose the general principle that compensation to First Nations individuals who experienced pain and suffering as a result of government misconduct should be provided."
Advocates for indigenous children expressed disappointment over the government's appeal.
At a news conference, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said that two advocacy groups, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, have agreed to sit down with officials and try to hammer out a negotiated deal by the end of December.
She said that Ottawa "will compensate those harmed by discriminatory underfunding (of services) so that we can mend these past wrongs."
This case has always been a bone of tension between tribes and the government.
In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that less funds had been allocated for child and family services of indigenous people than for non-indigenous people. The tribunal observed that this pushed more indigenous children into foster care.