Nishnawbe Aski Nation: Service Gaps Place Indigenous Children at Risk of Harm
“Child-welfare gaps led to youth suicides, Indigenous group argues at Federal Court” (National Post) June 16, 2021. https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/child-welfare-gaps-led-to-youth-suicides-indigenous-group-argues-at-federal-court
“Fed lawyer strikes back as bid to quash human rights compensation order for First Nations kids wraps up” (APTN News) June 16, 2021. https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/fed-lawyer-strikes-back-as-bid-to-quash-human-rights-compensation-order-for-first-nations-kids-wraps-up/
On Wednesday June 16, 2021, Falconers LLP counsel Akosua Matthews appeared on behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (“NAN”) to make submissions before the Federal Court in response to Canada’s application for judicial review of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s (“the Tribunal”) orders regarding compensation to First Nations children and their caregivers.
While Canada has maintained its position that there was inadequate evidence before the Tribunal to award compensation to First Nations children and caregivers harmed by Canada’s discriminatory funding of child-welfare services and failure to implement Jordan’s Principle, NAN and the other respondents disagree.
NAN’s submissions focused on a request for suicide prevention resources in July of 2016 by Wapekeka First Nation that was ignored by Canada for months until after the tragic loss of two 12-year-old children to suicide in January 2017.
As reported by the National Post, Ms. Matthews argued on Wednesday that “the federal government’s arguments before the court are merely an attempt to avoid responsibility”. Further, “‘The fact that there are gaps in services and the fact that this has incentivized placing children in care in order to obtain access to services meant Canada’s lack of action in general and lack of a response to Wapekeka in particular, was willful and reckless and the Tribunal says it was intentional,’ Ms. Matthews told the court Wednesday.”
An APTN article quoted further from Ms. Matthews’ submissions:
“It’s remarkable that we’re even before you on these judicial review applications by Canada, especially given the fact that, politically, Canada has stated that they are not litigating against First Nations children,” she told [Justice] Favel. “But I would submit, your honour, that these judicial reviews represent exactly that.”
For further information and links to all parties’ filed facta, please see the below links.
https://falconers.ca/canada-says-its-not-fighting-indigenous-children-in-court-but-is-spending-a-week-in-court-trying-to-duck-an-obligation-to-pay-compensation-to-indigenous-children/ June 11, 2021 (includes all parties’ filed facta)