Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC)- First Nations Family Advocate Office
(FNFAO) on behalf of First Nations children, their families, and First Nations filed a class action lawsuit to the Court
of King’s Bench against the Government of Manitoba and the Attorney General of Canada. This legal action would
be the first species to “off-reserve” children, going back from 1992 to the present day, who were apprehended by
Child and Family Services (CFS) and placed into foster care.
There are approximately 11,000 children in the child welfare system in Manitoba, 80 percent of whom are First
Nations and many of those children are apprehended off-reserve (61% of the children in care in the Northern
Authority and 75% of the children in the care of the Southern Authority were apprehended off-reserve.)
The legal action outlines how the failure of the child welfare system in Manitoba has principally affected three
groups: the children themselves, their families, and their First Nations. All three groups must be represented in
order to advance restorative justice and ensure that the tragic errors of the past are not repeated.
The plaintiffs seek the following:
1) an immediate stop to the discriminatory practices that result in the apprehension of so many First Nations
2) properly funded services for First Nations children now.
3) $1 billion dollars in compensation to First Nations children, families, and First Nations for the damage caused
by the child welfare system since 1992.
4) recognition that the well-being of First Nation children must be entrenched in First Nations laws relating to the
the well-being of First Nations children and families.
For decades, children in the foster care system have been prevented from learning their First Nation’s distinct and sacred teachings, receiving essential spiritual guidance, and knowing and taking pride in their true identity and
This ongoing practice sets up First Nations children to fail as adults, where they are disproportionately
vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, illness, poor educational outcomes,
human trafficking, gang recruitment, and involvement in the criminal justice system.
“As our class action clearly states: Manitoba and Canada’s disastrous management of child welfare in this province
perpetuates a longstanding effort to assimilate First Nations children,” stated AMC Deputy Grand Chief Cornell
McLean. “In the guise of providing care, Manitoba and Canada have employed discriminatory practices to destroy
First Nations families and Nations. This action seeks to end the harm, together with compensation to help us heal
as a Nation."