OTTAWA – A ruling for the case against how the Canadian government handles funding for child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves is expected to be announced later this month.
In 2007, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society), decided to try and hold Canada accountable before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its current treatment of First Nations children.
The complaint alleges that the Government of Canada continuously provides less government funding for child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves, compared to what is provided to non-Aboriginal children.
One year later, in 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission ordered a tribunal to determine whether or not discrimination had actually occurred according to what the Canadian Human Rights Act classifies as discrimination.
A tribunal is similar to a court process with all evidence taken under oath. The AFN and the Caring Society presented their findings supporting their claims and then the federal government was given the chance to respond.
The Tribunal’s findings took place in 2014 and if it is found that discrimination did take place, a remedy to the discrimination may be ordered. Cindy Blackstock, an advocate for First Nations children in Canada, is the one who brought the case forward to the Human Rights Tribunal.
“We will do whatever it takes to make sure this discrimination stops because your kids and everyone else’s kids are worth the money,” Blackstock told the Two Row Times in an interview. “We are at this moment of history where we are on the brink of being able to create a better Canada, a better country and a better situation for First Nations children. But it’s going to take every single one of us to make sure that this becomes real.”
For more details on the case go to www.fnwitness.ca.