Ottawa announced it will be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to those affected by the ’60s scoop, but a Regina lawyer said there is more work to be done.
The federal government announced Friday morning it will be paying $800 million to people affected as a part of a lawsuit launched against Ottawa. It will work out to about $25,000 to $50,000 per person.
Tony Merchant with the Merchant Law Group was in Ottawa for the announcement and said there is more work to be done.
The law group has launched lawsuits against the provinces for their involvement in the ’60s scoop.
“Canada has paid compensation, and that’s appreciated, but the task now is to also obtain compensation from the provinces,” Merchant said. “The provinces ran the social services departments that took these children, many of whom were sexually and physically abused in care.”
Merchant said that the federal government payouts are only given to those who classify as status Indians and Inuit. His lawsuits are seeking compensation for Metis and non-status Indians.
He said this decision could mean positive things for the other lawsuits.
“When Canada acts responsibly and says ‘We know there is a wrong and we apologize’, that says something to the provincial governments that they too ought to do the same thing, responsibly pay compensation, responsibly apologize.”
Merchant said this lawsuit wasn’t all about how much money people deserved.
“For most victims, they care about the recognition of wrong more than the compensation,” Merchant said. “You can never compensate for taking children away from their parents and not knowing their brothers and sisters and others in their family.”
He said that those affected by the ’60s Scoop want this wrong to be recognized and to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
Merchant said he doesn’t know how long his lawsuits against the provinces will be in the courts for.