Ruling on First Nation Child Welfare is a “Slap in the Face” following National Aboriginal Day

TORONTO – Statement from Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day:

Today’s announcement that the federal government will seek clarity from the Federal Court on two specific aspects of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings creates further delays and continues to imperil the lives of First Nations children across Canada.

Last month, the CHRT again ruled that Canada has yet to comply with previous orders to implement Jordan’s Principle, which is a child-first principle that every First Nation child should have access to the same government services as all Canadian children.

The federal government has had ample opportunity within this compliance motion to enter evidence about how to best implement Jordan’s Principle. The government entered no evidence about matters relating to case conferencing or timing needed to answer Jordan’s Principle applications.  Canada also could have approached the parties with their concerns about these aspects of the rulings and come to an agreement about how to implement the ruling. Again, this was not done.

Ministers Bennett and Philpott’s appeal is contrary to the Federal Government’s stated desire to work collaboratively on First Nations children’s issues, and continued litigation goes against the foundation of reconciliation. If the federal government had sat down and seriously engaged the parties at any point in the past 18 months, we wouldn’t be here.

To launch another appeal, and in so doing deny services, is a slap in the face in this age of Truth and Reconciliation, as well as the fact it comes two days after National Aboriginal Day.  I want to remind Canada that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action are strongly focused on equality in child health and welfare – this means that no child should be left behind, no child should be denied basic human rights.”

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