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.

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.

April 7, 2022 – Budget 2022 announced $4B over 5 years to support long-term reforms to improve implementation of Jordan’s Principle and $280M over 5 years to support implementation of Indigenous child welfare laws.

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

Jan. 25, 2023: Federal officials are expected to begin “intense confidential discussions” on Feb. 7 and 8 to re-work the $20-billion compensation agreement that was rejected last fall by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Dec. 20, 2022: CHRT released its full decision (2022 CHRT 41) regarding the proposed final settlement agreement on compensation which elaborates on its letter-decision of October 24, 2022

Oct. 24: CHRT announces that it will not endorse the AFN-Canada Final Settlement Agreement as it does not “fully” satisfy the compensation orders

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

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Current Problems with
Child Welfare (1-5)

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Child and Youth Advocate Reports

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Systemic Racism

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Government and Institution Issues

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Bill C-92

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Court Challenges

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Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

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Jordan's Principle

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Background Information

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Indigenous Jurisdiction and Bill C-92 at the Supreme Court

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Child and Youth Advocate Recommendations

The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA) is an association of children's advocates from across Canada who have mandates to advance the rights of children and youth and to promote their voice. Although the names of the offices and their legislative mandates vary, the advocates are all independent officers of the legislature in their respective jurisdictions. Through the Council, they identify areas of mutual concern, and work to develop ways to address issues at a national level.

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Child Welfare Reports

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Coroner Reports

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Indigenous Success Stories