OTTAWA—A group of ’60s Scoop survivors is organizing to help fellow survivors understand—and ultimately reject—a multimillion-dollar settlement proposed by the federal government.
The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network arranged an information session Feb. 20 in Ottawa to scrutinize the $800-million deal, which was announced last October but has yet to receive court approval.
“It’s really important that this information gets out there by survivors for survivors,” said network co-founder Colleen Cardinal.
“The federal government is not going to make sure that every survivor knows what their rights are. Our mission is to get out there and let people know what is happening.”
The ’60s Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes by the federal government and placed with non-Indigenous foster families across the country starting around the 1950s.
The government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation and an additional $75 million to pay four law firms.
Cardinal denounced the deal, saying the federal government should have first asked survivors what they wanted.
“They don’t even know how many survivors there are,” she said, disputing the estimated $20,000 to $50,000 payment per survivor.
“Also, there’s a $750-million cap, which means it’s not going to be $25,000. It’s going to be less than that, depending on how many survivors apply.”
Cardinal also criticized the settlement for excluding Metis survivors.
The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has said the proposed settlement is a first step and the government is committed to using negotiation to resolve any ongoing litigation.
“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Metis and non-status,” said a statement from her office.
An Ontario Superior Court judge will hear arguments in Saskatoon and Toronto in May on whether the proposal should be approved.
From The Canadian Press