CANADA SAYS IT’S NOT FIGHTING INDIGENOUS CHILDREN IN COURT – BUT IS SPENDING A WEEK IN COURT TRYING TO DUCK AN OBLIGATION TO PAY COMPENSATION TO INDIGENOUS CHILDREN
Toronto, ON –
On June 14-18, 2021, Falconers LLP counsel Akosua Matthews will appear on behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (“NAN”), which is a respondent in the twinned judicial review proceedings brought by the Applicant Attorney General of Canada before the Federal Court of Canada.
Canada is seeking to overturn rulings by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) about Jordan’s Principle and about compensation for Indigenous victims of Canada’s discriminatory conduct in on-reserve child welfare and in its failure to implement Jordan’s Principle. Canada is proceeding with these judicial reviews of the Tribunal’s orders despite the Prime Minister’s claim that the Canadian Government is not litigating against Indigenous children. The other responding parties appearing alongside NAN are the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (“the Caring Society”), the Assembly of First Nations (“AFN”), the Chiefs of Ontario (“COO”), Amnesty International, and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (“CAP”).
Jordan’s Principle is a child-focused, human rights-based principle intended to provide an immediate solution to the long-standing practices of discriminatory conduct against First Nations children seeking public services. The Principle is intended to guarantee immediate access to services and avoid any potential lapse in service due to jurisdictional disagreement between the federal and provincial governments. It is named after the late Jordan River Anderson, a young First Nations boy from a Treaty 5 Nation in Manitoba who never had the opportunity to live in a family environment, as Canada and Manitoba refused to provide him with the medical services he required to live outside of a hospital. Jordan Anderson died in hospital at the age of five.
Mere weeks after the tragedy of the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Residential School, Canada is in court challenging the Tribunal’s orders that Canada pay $40,000 each to First Nations children separated from their families and communities by a chronically underfunded child welfare system, as well as to each of their parents or grandparents, during a specified time period. Canada is also challenging the Tribunal’s order that Jordan’s Principle must be applied in a manner that takes into account First Nations’ determination of citizenship and belonging, and that does not depend uniquely on the twin colonial pillars of Indian Act status and on-reserve residency.
These rulings flow from the Tribunal’s January 26, 2016, landmark decision that found that Canada has racially discriminated against 165,000 Indigenous children and families through flawed and inequitable funding of on-reserve child and family services and through failures to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.
In order to access the hearing, which will be occurring via Zoom, the public is able to register using the following link: https://www.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/court-files-and-decisions/hearings-calendar.
Material for Judicial Review at Federal Court:
Applicant: Attorney General of Canada
- Caring Society
- Assembly of First Nations
- Canadian Human Rights Commission
- Chiefs of Ontario
- Amnesty International
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation
- Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
https://falconers.ca/federal-court-hears-submissions-in-stay-of-proceedings-issue-in-caring-society-case/ November 25, 2019