Indigenous woman sues child welfare system deemed discriminatory

Indigenous woman sues child welfare system found to be discriminatory

Amber Fontaine hopes to be able to act on behalf of Indigenous children living off reserve.< /p>

Amber Fontaine is also filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of Indigenous children and their families living outside Inuit communities.

An Ojibway woman who alleges she experienced discrimination at the hands of Children's Services wants to bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children living outside communities.

The August 19, Amber Fontaine filed a petition in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench alleging that the federal and provincial governments have systematically discriminated against Indigenous children living outside of communities by not treating them with fairness.

Pine Falls native Amber Fontaine is drawing on her own experience with child protective services in her lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada and the Manitoba government.

“Canada has clearly chosen not to provide funding for Indigenous children living outside communities. They were treated as if they were assimilated and therefore under the responsibility of the province.

— From Amber Fontaine's request

She believes that the governments would not have been responsive enough to provide access to essential services.

The lawsuit alleges that, not only did the province fail to provide the necessary funds , but it maintains a policy of taking children away from their original homes in order to place them in foster care.

These children are apprehended before they even arrive. can access the required services. This is the direct consequence of this discriminatory approach, adds the lawsuit.

These children are removed from their homes as a first resort, when it should be a last resort, she says, adding that this is what explains the overrepresentation of indigenous children in care. in Manitoba.

According to the latest annual report from the Manitoba Department of Families, more than 90% of the 10,000 children in care are Aboriginal.

Amber Fontaine, who is now 35 and lives in Winnipeg, says she was taken from her family at age 6 by child protective services. In 7 months, she was in the care of three non-Indigenous families.

She asks that Indigenous families and their children living outside of communities who have experienced abuse from from the child protection system, receive compensation.

Amber Fontaine seeks permission to file a class action lawsuit. The court has yet to rule on this request.

If her class action lawsuit is approved, Amber Fontaine seeks individual compensation on behalf of three different groups:

  • First Nations children and youth Nations, Inuit and Métis who were removed from their homes outside of communities between January 1, 1992 and August 19, 2022;
  • Children who have not received an essential public service or who have experienced delays during this period;
  • Parents or grandparents parents caring for the affected children and eligible for compensation.

The Government of Manitoba does not wish to comment on this matter which is before the courts.

CBC requested comment from the Attorney General of Canada on Tuesday morning, but had not received a response at press time.

In July, the federal government reached a $20 billion final settlement agreement to compensate First Nations children and their families who suffered from chronic underfunding of child welfare services.

In 2016, a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling said the federal government must overhaul the child protection system. First Nations childhood in communities.

With information from Rachel Bergen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Churchill's portrait stolen by 'professional', Chateau Laurier says
Next post NATO Secretary General visits Canada for three days