Right now, confidential discussions are taking place to attempt a Canada-wide settlement of the 60s Scoop. Chief Marcia Martel (Brown) believes these discussions may result in a resolution aligned with her vision, and the hopes of many survivors she has consulted within her community. She believes there is the strong potential, through these discussions, for achieving justice for all those who experienced harm.
As a result, she has instructed her counsel to participate in these discussions with lawyers from different parts of Canada and Justice Michel Shore (the Federal Court designated mediator). In light of these discussions, Marcia has directed an adjournment of the October 11th compensation hearing in Toronto.
What Does This Mean?
The most important thing to understand is that even if there is no settlement, the Court will determine compensation payable to survivors. Justice Belobaba’s February 14, 2017 ruling assures this.
If, at any time, Marcia believes progress on settlement discussions is not being made in a satisfactory way, the compensation hearing before Justice Belobaba will immediately be rescheduled.
What is Being Discussed?
These discussions, like all settlement discussions, are confidential. Marcia and her counsel, along with other clients and their counsel from other parts of Canada, are the only people party to the discussion with the Federal government, mediated by Justice Shore.
What we can say is that Marcia would not be at the table if key elements of her vision were not part of the discussion.
When will we know more?
While we don’t have a timeline we can share right now, we can say that Marcia—like all of us—is committed to a reasonably swift resolution. We want to take the time to get it right. But, as you all know, this case has dragged on for close to a decade, and seeing it resolved in a timely manner is what everyone wants.”
Have you watched Chief Martel’s vision statement?
View it here: https://youtu.be/mxRwD5iMRG4
From the start of our action in February 2009, Representative Plaintiff Chief Marcia Martel (Brown) has urged respect, reconciliation, resolution. Two successive federal governments (under Harper and Trudeau) have attempted to delay our case and have our claim thrown out of court. Despite all this, we have never given in and never given up. We have persisted.
Though in June Canada attempted, yet again, to delay and avoid accountability, the Court made clear that the finding of liability was not to be re-opened. The case would proceed to the financial compensation hearing, scheduled for October 11, 12, & 13 in Toronto.
Since we began the case in 2009, other actions have been commenced (though ours remains the only certified case in Canada and the only one to have established liability in the court). The lawyers for the claimants in cases in other provinces are meeting with Federal Court Justice Michel Shore in the weeks ahead to attempt to work out a settlement, under order of that Court. They have invited our lawyers to participate in a pan-Canadian resolution. Chief Martel has directed our lawyers to attend.
Here are the most important things for you to know about these discussions:
- This is an important opportunity to impart our vision for reconciliation. Chief Martel’s video statement outlines that vision very clearly;
- The discussions are confidential and we cannot talk about what gets discussed until and unless all parties agree;
- We are attending this meeting on our own terms. Our case is not part of the federal court actions and therefore, no ruling or direction in that court can be made against our claim in Ontario;
- Our lawyers can withdraw from these talks at any time and, very importantly, nothing done or said there can be used to delay or interfere with our case for proper financial compensation;
- The hearings scheduled for October 11, 12th, and 13th are still on. This will not change until and unless a settlement offer that includes fair and proper financial compensation for Ontario survivors is put forward.
Some of us, we know, have experienced anguish in all of the attempts by the federal government to deny or delay this case. Time and time again we heard the government say-one-thing-do-another. The healing process is profoundly challenging for those whose childhood was lost.
We go into these talks with our eyes open. Hopeful, not naïve. Receptive, not vulnerable. Respectful, not weak. We will see. We are watching.
Ontario Sixties Scoop Committee
Chief Marcia Martel (Brown), our Representative Plaintiff, and her response to the government’s latest attempt for more delay, more litigation. Please view and share with others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfs6kfhOMQc&t=2s
CLICK HERE to read the document Canada’s lawyers gave to the Honourable Justice Belobaba on Friday, June 10, 2017.
In response, on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Case Management Justice told the parties the case was proceeding, as scheduled. The hearing to determine the amount of compensation for survivors to loss of cultural identity will proceed in Toronto on October 11th, 2017. Liability will not be re-opened for more litigation.
Mark the date of October 11th, 2017 in your calendar. It is a public hearing. Let us honour, with our presence at the hearing, the courageous journey of the survivors, their walk through two federal governments to re-claim their nature and re-unite with family, community and nation.
Our lawyers asked the Case Management Judge on June 14, 2017 for the opportunity to attend with Canada’s lawyers before another judge to try to settle our case. But, Canada’s lawyers said they would not do that, and the Court cannot order parties to try to settle.
Canada’s Minister and Prime Minister say the words of reconciliation, but they do the opposite.
“Dear Minister, you are still standing in the dark…”
The Ontario Sixties Scoop Committee
Survivors seek reconciliation, while Government seeks further litigation
TORONTO, June 13, 2017—Today, in an astonishing turn of events, and in apparent contradiction to the Government’s own position, Justice Department lawyers issued an argument that blatantly questions the court’s finding of government liability in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Claim.
In February 2017, the Ontario Superior Court found the Government of Canada liable for harm endured by Ontario Sixties Scoop survivors in failing to protect their cultural identities. With the liability decision made, the case moved to the next stage: a decision regarding compensation and relief for survivors.
Concurrent with the court’s decision earlier this year, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett acknowledged that harm was done and expressed a desire to work together to right these historic wrongs, stating “We have no intention of going back to court.”
However, in a memo released today, Crown lawyers outlined a new argument for continued litigation over the question of liability and relief stating: “The summary judgement decision does not establish liability.” Further, the memo states:
- Causation cannot be established on a case-wide basis; and
- An aggregate assessment of damanges is not possible.
The implications of these arguments are significant. “The government is calling for 16,000 additional individual trials to determine if harm was done. This would not only come at an exorberant cost to tax payers, it would block access to justice for thousands of Indigenous Ontarians,” says Jeffery Wilson, lead attorney for the claimants.
Chief Marcia Brown Martel, lead claimant in the case, expressed great dismay and disappointment in the government’s tactics. “It’s as if Canada is saying that the judge’s decision in February meant nothing,” she said. Chief Martel has long expressed the desire to see this case settled out of court to enable the healing process to begin.
Prior to the argument issued by the Crown today, Chief Brown had formally tabled with government a framework for settlement to support reconciliation at the systemic level. While this framework included direct compensation, survivors would also contribute a portion of their relief entitlements to:
- Create a healing foundation that would provide culturally appropriate mental health and wellness support for all Sixties Scoop survivors in Canada and for future generations of Indigenous Canadians impacted by the Scoop.
- Establish a University Chair or scholarship to advance research on the value and protection of the cultural identities of all Canadians
- Commission and install a public art work acknowledging the history of the Sixties Scoop
“What we envisioned was a path forward, the start of a new relationship between survivors and Canada,” said Chief Martel. “What we got was a painful reminder that we are all still standing in the dark. It is time for Canada to turn the light on. ”
Chief Marcia Brown Martel, lead claimant in the Ontario Sixties Scoop Claim, expresses great dismay and disappointment in the Government of Canada’s tactics delaying any movement towards a settlement that would support reconciliation at the systemic level.
October 11, 12, 13, 2017
Osgoode Hall Courthouse- Toronto
The Honourable Justice E. Belobaba will hear the case of financial compensation owing to the 16,000 survivors of Ontario’s Sixties Scoop.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is just compensation for someone who dies alive and, because of dying alive, is deprived of all contact with her family, extended family and community? Canada did this. It registered living Chief Marcia Martel as deceased, and almost got away with it.
- How much money did Canada save by denying 16,000 people their cultural identities and the opportunity to exercise their financial entitlements as Canada’s First Nations’ peoples?
- How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they could attend university or college free of cost?
- How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they were entitled to free extended health services
- How many adopted or crown ward First Nations’ children and their adopting parents and guardians knew they were entitled to receive the benefits of hunting, fishing, and housing allowances and a share of Band settlement claims?
Stay tuned – More to come – Arrange to attend – Don’t want to miss this event