Winnipeg: January 26th, 2016 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Southern First Nations of Care applauds the landmark decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) that substantiates the complaint that the Canadian government, in the provision of child and family services, has discriminated against First Nations children and families living on reserve.
The CHRT also found that the inadequate implementation of Jordan’s Principle resulted in “…gaps, delays, and denials for First Nation children.”
Tara Petti, SFNNC CEO says “We applaud the decision of the CHRT and look forward to the federal government moving quickly to implement the ruling and to end the inequalities in other FN children’s services such as education, health, and basics like water and housing.”
The Tribunal found that “…AANDC’s design, management and control of the FNCFS Program, along with the corresponding funding formulas and the other related provincial/territorial agreements have resulted in denials of services and created various adverse impacts for the many First Nations children and families living on reserves.” The federal government has failed to meet the goal of providing culturally appropriate child and family services to First Nations children and families living on reserve, and its policies have created a “perverse incentive” to place children in foster care.
The Tribunal has ordered Ottawa to “…cease its discriminatory practices and reform the FNCFS Program… to reflect the findings of this decision.” AANDC (now INAC) was ordered “…to cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle and to take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle.”
“This shortfall in funding impacted the ability of the FNCFS agencies in Manitoba and across the country to deliver preventive and support services that are needed to reduce the over-representation of First Nations children in child welfare care,” says Petti.
In terms of next steps, Petti says “We will be sitting down with our agencies to fully review the decision and the ordered remedies to determine how and where these can be implemented to provide maximum benefit to the children and their families. Our priority has always been to ensure community prevention initiatives that are grounded in culturally appropriate services. This would include kinship care, family enhancement and support programs, and resources to support them. This is consistent with the findings of the TRC and its Call to Action ‘...to advance the process of Canadian reconciliation...’”
This landmark case marks the first time in Canadian history that the federal government has been held to account and ordered to remedy its discriminatory treatment of First Nations children and their families. The findings and remedies of the CHRT are binding.
“We would like to acknowledge the commitment and dedication shown by Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the FN CFS Caring Society, and the Assembly of First Nations for all their hard work in fighting for the rights of FN children and their families,” said Petti.
The Southern First Nations of Care is mandated under the Manitoba CFS Authorities Act to provide support and oversight to the provision of CFS Services by southern FNCFS agencies (9) and ANCR.
Southern First Nations Network of Care
Phone: (204) 783 9190
Email: Click Here
The human rights case was first filed by the Caring Society and AFN in 2007 but needless delays caused by the previous federal government resulted in the hearings getting underway in 2013, and wrapping up in Oct 2014. During the course of the hearings 25 witnesses, including two from Manitoba, testified and over 500 documents were filed as evidence.
For further information on the case: fnwitness.ca