Thousands of Aboriginal victims of the 1960s round-up could receive $25,000 to $50,000 in compensation. According to an agreement announced Friday morning by the Minister of Aboriginal Relations, Carolyn Bennett.
The $800-million agreement in principle is intended to address 18 federal prosecutions for the abduction of Aboriginal children from their families to non-Aboriginal children in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Of this amount, about $100 million will be used for reconciliation initiatives, but sources indicate that details have yet to be finalized.
After a legal battle that lasted eight years, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court ruled in February that the federal government had failed in its duty to help children retain their Aboriginal identity.
Thousands of children were placed in non-indigenous families from 1965 to 1984, causing psychological after-effects of survivors to adulthood, Judge Edward Belobaba said in his judgment.
The magistrate also pointed to Ottawa for ignoring the damage caused by the Ontario program.
Judge Belobaba’s decision opened the door to some form of financial compensation, after Minister Bennett said that the government would not appeal .
Other prosecutions in other jurisdictions against similar programs that placed foster children or adoptive families.
The agreement announced by Minister Bennett is $ 500 million less than what the class action sought for 16,000 Aboriginal victims.
Marcia Brown Martel of the Temagami First Nation, who launched the class action in 2009, will hold a press conference on Parliament Hill on Friday morning.
“We thank the government for sitting at the negotiating table and offering generous compensation to the applicants,” said Kirk M. Baert, a lawyer who participated in the prosecution.