The "First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout and Kith Class Settlement Agreement," approved by the Federal Court of Canada in 2023, set aside $23.34 billion (in Canadian dollars) to compensate First Nations children and families harmed by discriminatory underfunding. The so-called "charge" of $622 per Canadian citizen appears to be a calculation based on the total amount of the settlement divided by the number of citizens.
The final settlement was approved by the Federal Court of Canada after a prolonged legal battle, not by the prime minister.
In October 2023, a post was shared on X (formerly Twitter) that read "SHOCK SETTLEMENT: Justin Trudeau has agreed to charge every Canadian citizen roughly $622 to pay a $23B reparation bill," reaching over 256 thousand views.
SHOCK SETTLEMENT: Justin Trudeau has agreed to charge every Canadian citizen roughly $622 to pay a $23B reparation bill. https://t.co/iC9IJWICHK
— Keean Bexte (@TheRealKeean) October 24, 2023
"The British monarchy should be paying, not Canadian citizens," one X user commented on the post. The rumor stemmed from an article published on The Counter Signal's website that describes itself as "a mainstream media alternative" with a scope "to combat mainstream media lies."
The article with a title "REPARATIONS: $622 per Canadian to cover $23B payment to Aboriginal families" was published on Oct. 24, 2023, and it read (emphasis ours):
A federal judge has approved a record-breaking $23 billion settlement agreement for First Nations children and families.
The settlement originated from a 2019 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling. This ruling mandated a steep human rights penalty, pricing at $40,000 per affected First Nation child and family.
Record breaking First Nations settlement
Trudeau chose to negotiate, and ended up losing a record setting settlement. This is the second time the Trudeau government has made headlines for obscene settlement numbers. The first time was when he handed convicted terrorist Omar Khadr $10 million to avoid going to court.
What is raising eyebrows is the financial burden placed on all Canadians. The monumental settlement will cost every Canadian citizen roughly $622. That’s right, whether you agree with the settlement or not, you’re footing the bill.
The sum of $622 was most likely a calculation based on the amount of settlement ($23.34 billion in Canadian dollars) divided by the number of Canadian citizens. However, contrary to what the viral post stated, The Counter Signal's article did not state that Canadian citizens would be directly charged $622 to pay for the settlement. The article rather implied that it would be covered by the government and therefore the taxes payed by the citizens of Canada.
About the Settlement
The in-question legal battle began in 2007, when the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a complaint alleging the Canadian child welfare system was discriminatory. As Reuters reported, in April 2023:
Canada's federal government and a group of Indigenous people have reached a revised C$23.34 billion ($17.35 billion) agreement to compensate First Nations children and families for the decades of harm caused by a discriminatory welfare system.
Moreover, a release on Canadian government's website from that time informed that the proposal would be approved by the Tribunal and the Federal Court (emphasis ours):
This is a major milestone in advancing compensation; however, a few key steps remain. Canada, the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society will now return to the Tribunal to seek confirmation that the proposed revised settlement fully satisfies the Tribunal’s compensation orders. Once that is confirmed, the agreement will be brought to the Federal Court for approval. If approved, the process to implement the settlement will begin. To find out more about next steps in the compensation process and eligibility, visit www.fnchildcompensation.ca
Work continues in parallel with the ongoing negotiations to reform the First Nations Child and Family Services program and a long-term approach for Jordan’s Principle, to ensure this discrimination never happens again.
In June 2023 the settlement was approved by the Canada's Human Rights Tribunal, as BBC reported. The topic reappeared in social media in Oct. 2023, as the Canadian government website informed, "the Federal Court of Canada approved the First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout and Kith Class Settlement Agreement":
October 24, 2023 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
Today, the Federal Court of Canada approved the First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout and Kith Class Settlement Agreement, with reasons to follow. The agreement was reached between the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Moushoom and Trout class actions plaintiffs and Canada, with the support of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.
This First Nations-led agreement includes a total of $23.34 billion to compensate First Nations children and families who were harmed by discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and those impacted by the federal government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle.
Moreover, the government's release underscored that the settlement would be implemented in 2024, on the condition that the agreement will not be appealed:
If the approval of the agreement is not appealed within the 60-day appeal period following the issuance of the Federal Court’s order on the settlement, the process to implement the settlement through the court ordered third-party administrator could begin later in 2024.
All in all, the "First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout and Kith Class Settlement Agreement," sets aside $23.34 billion to compensate First Nations children and families harmed by discriminatory underfunding. The in-question post suggested that Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau approved the settlement agreement in October 2023, while the final stage of the legal battle regarded the Federal Court of Canada. Moreover, we have not found any evidence or indication that Canadian citizens would be directly charged $622 to pay for the the settlement bill. Therefore, we rated this claim as a Mixture.
To find out more about the agreement on compensation for First Nations, we encourage you to visit the official website of First Nations Child Services Compensation Process.