After the February 14, 2017 decision:

  • Register/sign up to be included in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Class Action
  • Negotiations are now occurring. Make sure you sign up whether you are a Status or non-Status Indian, lived or did not live on a reserve, or were removed before 1965.
  • All that matters is that you were removed in Ontario. It does not matter that you were placed outside Ontario.

Thank you to all who have assisted us to reach the stage of proving liability, demonstrating that a wrong-in-law did take place.
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Norther Affairs, stated in the House of Commons on February 15, 2017 that the Government will “absolutely” not be appealing. But, we have seen before, as recently as February 1st and February 2nd, 2017 how the Minister says one thing on Wednesday (i.e. “dark chapter” in Canadian history and no more litigation) and the government does the other on Thursday (i.e. file a brief with the Judge asking for the 8th time for the case to be dismissed). The government has 30 days to appeal from February 14, 2017. We are advised Canada will try to negotiate an across-Canada settlement and, until that occurs, if ever, the Ontario case will continue and proceed to the damages stage. The judge will hear evidence and be asked to assess the amount of money that should be paid to the victims of the Ontario Sixties Scoop. Representative plaintiff Marcia Brown Martel will be presenting to the judge a request for an aggregate sum of damages to provide for programs that ensure that what happened to the Sixties Scoop Survivors cannot happen again.
With the ruling, we celebrate:

  • A judicial finding that our children have voices and their harm has been heard
  • the fact that this is the first case in the western world of law that says that our government has a duty to protect our cultural identity;
  • the fact that this is the first case in the western world of law that says that the duty to protect our cultural identity belongs to each of us as individuals, and is not reserved exclusively to our Bands or Chiefs to assert a collective right. Each of us is deserved of respect and recognition of her or his Indigenous traditions, customs and language. Cultural identity is an individual right. 

Ceremonial sharing video and media reporting of the Sixties Scoop Judicial Decision

  • If you would like to watch the ceremonial sharing of the February 14, 2017 decision of the Honourable Justice Edward Belobaba that took place that day at the Native Child and Family Services Centre in Toronto, click here.
  • If you would like to have a listing of the media articles that captured the event of the Honourable Judge’s ruling, click here.

Meegwetch
Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

DECISION – FEBRUARY 14, 2017

REPRESENTATIVE PLAINTIFF CHIEF MARTEL SPEAKS ABOUT
OUR TIME TO HEAL

Tomorrow, we will receive the long-awaited decision about Canada’s liability in the Sixties Scoop case from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Chief Marcia Martel (Brown), the representative Plaintiff in Brown v Canada, will be part of the ceremonial sharing of that decision likely between 1-3pm, soon after the decision is released. Please visit this page tomorrow morning for an exact time.

The ceremony will be live-streamed from the Native Child and Family Services in Toronto, Canada and can be viewed by clicking here.

Minister Seeks Reconciliation, While Government Seeks to Block Judgement

TORONTO, February 7, 2017— “Today, in an unprecedented legal maneuver, the Government of Canada sought to block the court from delivering a verdict on liability next week in the Ontario Sixties Scoop case.  Canada’s request to suspend judgement comes just one week before the court is expected to deliver its decision and eight years, almost to the day, after the case was launched.

“Canada’s lawyers are citing Minister Carolyn Bennett’s recent announcement regarding a pan-Canadian settlement as justification for this request. We fail to comprehend that reasoning.  Negotiations for a pan-Canadian settlement of all Sixties Scoop claims can certainly take place concurrently or following the court’s decision on liability.  Indeed, we look forward to working with the Minister and bringing forward meaningful recommendations on how to move forward together in the spirit of reconciliation.

“The government’s actions today, however, fly in the face of that spirit. This truly astonishing action leaves us with three questions:

  • Does the government truly think it fair and reasonable to ask Sixties Scoop survivors to abandon their quest for justice just days before the court makes its decision?
  • Just days ago government lawyers were arguing that Canada bears no responsibility for protecting the cultural identities of Indigenous children. Does the government maintain this position?
  • The government has been spending time and resources litigating this case for close to a decade. Why is it suddenly trying to block the court from delivering its judgement?

“Ontario Sixties Scoop survivors  ought not to be re-traumatized by a government that says one thing and does another. Is it because they are First Nations’ people that the government believes they are not entitled to a decision from the Courts of Justice?  Is this the legacy of compassion this government intends for Canadians?”

The Sixties Scoop Case by the Numbers

Litigation Negotiation
·         8:  # of years the case has been in process. Initial pleadings in the case were issued February 9, 2009

·         8: # of times the government has attempted to have the case thrown out

·         16+: # of times that the federal government has attempted to have the case adjourned

·         9+: # of lawyers that the federal government has had working on this case

·         3 # of lawyers Plaintiff has had working on the case

·         20,000: # of pages of documentary evidence the government has submitted to support its arguments against the claim in the last 18 months

·         $2 millon+: amount that this has cost Canadian taxpayers for the costs of the government’s opposition to the case over the last 8 years

·         $166,500:  total amount awarded to the Plaintiff, to date, to cover their costs. Canada was ordered to pay these costs

·         66: # of pages of legal argument submitted by the Crown to argue, for the 8th time, that the case should be thrown out. These were submitted after the Minister made her February 1, 2017 statement about a “dark chapter” in Canadian history and wanting to end the litigation.

·         0: # times the government has made a proposal for resolution

 

Canada is 150 years old – Canada’s only Sixties Scoop certified class action is 8 years old and:

Decision Thursday, February 16th 

The Honourable Justice Edward Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has advised that the target date for the release of His Honour’s decision is Thursday, February 16, 2017.

At stake is Plaintiff Marcia Martel (Brown’s) motion for a summary judgement determination that Canada breached its lawful duties to indigenous children. Also at stake is Canada’s 8th request for her action to be dismissed.

Whatever the Minister said in her press release, Canada’s lawyers continue to litigate. Their latest litigation step was to discredit the evidence of 95-year-old former Chief Wilmer Nadjiwon of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations.

The Minister’s lawyers did this, even after they walked away from the opportunity to cross-examine the former Chief. Special arrangements, approved by the Court, had been made for him to be questioned via video-conferencing because of his frail health. The former Chief was prepared for his evidence to be tested as to its truth.

If you would like to read the February 1st, 2017 Media Release of Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, click here.

If you would like to read what her lawyers said when they argued in the Superior Court of Justice on February 2nd, to throw out the evidence of former Chief Nadjiwon and former Band Councillor Jones, click here.

If you would like to read what the Plaintiff’s lawyers argued in response to Canada’s argument on February 2nd, click here.

In Canada, only the Ontario case has been certified.

Only the Ontario case is on the eve of a judge’s determination to decide whether what took place was something that, in law, should not have taken place. Canada’s lawyers have argued over the last 8 years that what took place was not lawfully wrong, and 8 times – yes, 8 times – they have asked for it to be thrown out or dismissed.

That is how we understand the matter, and that is why we respectfully do not understand how the Minister can say what she said on February 1st, 2017 in the House of Commons.

We ask all of our sisters and brothers to join with us, to stand firm and not give up the opportunity of a judicial decision that holds our government responsible for the wrong that was done. Do not compromise on your entitlement to an honest ruling from the Courts.

Meegwetch

– Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

 

Saying one thing and doing another

The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett announced today in the House that Canada is initiating settlement discussions across Canada with the survivors of the Sixties Scoop, and wants to put an end to the litigation.

What settlement solution is Minister Bennett really proposing when her lawyers in Ontario – the only jurisdiction where a class action proceeding has been certified and is actively before the Court – are arguing that Canada never had a duty, and does not have any duty to protect the cultural identity of First Nations’ children?

The decision in the Ontario may help answer the question as to whether Canada has such a duty. In the meantime, we hope claimants across the country will see the Minister’s statement, on the eve of the judge’s release of a decision in the 8 years of litigation in Ontario for what it is, saying one thing and doing another.

Stay tuned: we will follow-up with the Minister’s media release and words from the Plaintiff, Marcia Martel (Brown) and our lead counsel, Jeffery Wilson.

– Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee