Compensation for delaying and denying First Nations kids' care could top $15B: PBO

Compensation to First Nations children and families for federal government delay or denial of health care and other services routinely provided to Canadians could top $15 billion, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The parliamentary budget office says it could cost the federal government up to $15 billion to compensate First Nations' families and children impacted by the child welfare system, as well as denials or delays of essential services.

The figure updates the budget office's initial estimate to include thousands more children, parents and grandparents who would qualify for the $40,000 payments under recent developments in the case.

Jordan's Principle requires governments to cover the cost of services for First Nations children, and work out any disputes over jurisdiction afterwards.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the government to compensate children and families who had been denied service, or faced delays.

The updated report adds roughly 100,000 more First Nations children, along with their parents and grandparents, whose compensation would alone be about $10 billion.

The new estimate of about $15 billion includes the 13,000 children originally expected to be eligible for compensation, mostly related to delayed approval of claims, as well as those taken into care unnecessarily, and their families.

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