Child Welfare (1-5)

The number one issue in Child Welfare is the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care.

The majority of Indigenous children-in-care are First Nations (69.1%)

Current Reality

The 2021 census also found that 3.2 per cent of Indigenous children in Canada were in foster care, compared to just 0.2 per cent of non-Indigenous children in Canada.

Indigenous children accounted for more than half of all children in foster care, at 53.8 per cent, despite representing only 7.7 per cent of children 14 and under in Canada.

Sept. 26,2023: A team of lawyers representing Inuit children and their families in Nunavik and Indigenous children not living on reserves in Quebec are seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit against the provincial and federal governments over discrimination they claim was suffered related to the director of youth protection services and other health and social services.

Progress on reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care can be viewed through three distinct lenses: Federal, Provincial and the Candian Human Rights Tribunal.

Federal Actions

April 5, 2023: A revised final settlement agreement now totalling more than $23 billion was reached by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Moushoom and Trout class actions plaintiffs, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and Canada to compensate those harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and those impacted by the federal government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle.

Provincial Actions

Feb. 10, 2022: The Court of Appeal of Québec ruled that Bill C-92 “is constitutional, except for ss. 21 and 22(3), which are not”. These sections deal with the right of Aboriginal self-government and the regulation of Child and Family Services. The provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories also support the Québec appeal and argue that Bill C-92 infringes on provincial jurisdiction

Birth Alerts:
Since Sept. 16, 2019 six provinces have abandoned the use of Birth Alerts to apprehend Indigenous children at birth: BC (Sept. 16, 2019), Ontario (Oct. 15, 2020), Manitoba (June 30, 2020), PEI (Feb. 5, 2021), Saskatchewan (Feb 1, 2021) and New Brunswick (Oct. 29, 2021). Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec practice birth alerts.

Canadian Human Right Tribunal

Oct. 24, 2023: Judge approves historic $23B First Nations child welfare compensation agreement

July 26, 2023: The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) “finds that the revised First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle and Trout Class Settlement Agreement dated April 19, 2023, fully satisfies the Tribunal’s Compensation Orders.” The original $20B compensation was increased to over $23B to cover all impacted First Nations children

July 4, 2022: Assembly of First Nations and Canada signed a $20B Final Settlement Agreement to compensate First Nations individuals harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and the federal government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle. With respect to long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program, Parties are working hard at reaching a final settlement agreement to ensure a solid, reformed system to end the discrimination found by the Tribunal.

0/5 CTAs have been completed to date


Commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care

In Progress


Publish annual child welfare reports: Indigenous vs non-Indigenous

Not Started


Fully implement Jordan’s Principle

In Progress


Enact Indigenous Child Welfare legislation

In Progress


Develop culturally appropriate parenting programs for Indigenous families

In Progress

Featured Updates

Current Problems

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Bill C-92

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Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

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Child and Youth Advocate Reports

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Court Cases

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Government and Instution Issues

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Govt. and Institution Issues

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Jordan's Principle

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Systemic Racism

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Background Content

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Child and Youth Advocate Recommendations

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Child Welfare Reports

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Coroner Reports

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Indigenous Jurisdiction and Bill C-92 at the Supreme Court

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Indigenous Success Stories