Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Endorses Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Northern Remoteness Quotient
September 16, 2016: Yesterday, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) issued a ruling on immediate relief in the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada proceedings.
The Tribunal endorsed Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s (NAN) submissions that northern and remote communities face starkly different realities in the delivery of child and family services. NAN argued that a ‘remoteness quotient’, which would account for the higher costs and challenges of service delivery to remote and northern communities, should be factored into any remedies ordered by the Tribunal.
The Tribunal endorsed NAN’s northern and remoteness framework, stating, that the Tribunal “agrees with the NAN that a remoteness quotient needs to be developed as part of medium to long term relief and that data needs to be appropriately collected”. The Tribunal indicated that it “agrees with the NAN that while a robust, empirically-based remoteness quotient is being developed, adjustments reflecting northern remoteness realities can be undertaken in the immediate term”. Further, the Tribunal agreed that factoring northern remoteness realities “should not only apply to Ontario but, rather, the application of remoteness factors ought to be considered across Canada”.
On January 26, 2016, the Tribunal issued its landmark decision, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada which found that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (formerly AANDC – now Indigenous and Northern Affairs “INAC”) is racially discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children by not providing enough funding for child and family services on reserves. NAN was granted leave to intervene as an interested party in May 2016.
Falconers LLP lawyers Julian Falconer, Akosua Matthews and Anthony Morgan, act as legal counsel to Nishnawbe Aski Nation in these proceedings.
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada Ruling September 14, 2016
NAN Immediate Relief Submissions May 19, 2016