Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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January 26, 2016

NAN WELCOMES LANDMARK HUMAN RIGHTS RULING

THUNDER BAY, ON (January 26, 2016): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler welcomes a today’s landmark ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that the Government of Canada’s failure to provide equitable child welfare funding for vulnerable First Nations children is discriminatory.

“This landmark ruling is a game-changer and will have a dramatic effect on the delivery of child welfare in First Nation communities,” said NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The Tribunal’s ruling confirms that the federal government is accountable for failing to provide First Nations with the same level of child welfare services as the rest of Canada, which is discriminatory and contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

The Tribunal found that the federal government is racially discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children and their families by providing flawed and inequitable child welfare services and failing to implement Jordan’s Principle to ensure equitable access to government services. The Tribunal also found that federal funding formulas and policies create an incentive to place First Nations children in foster care and do not address the cultural needs of children.

The human rights complaint was launched by the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada in 2007. The case was brought on behalf of 163,000 children after the federal government failed to implement child welfare reforms recommended by several reports documenting inequalities in funding and access to services.

“Since it was launched nearly a decade ago the previous government fought at every turn to have this case it dismissed, and we acknowledge the perseverance of Dr. Cindy Blackstock and everyone involved for holding the government accountable,” said Fiddler. “Equity and reform in child welfare was the top call for action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and this is a historic opportunity for Canada to cease long-standing discriminatory practices against First Nations and start to redress historical inequalities by moving towards reconciliation.”

The Tribunal ordered the federal government to cease its discriminatory practices and stop applying its narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle and to take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle. NAN looks to this government to work with all levels of government to take immediate action to develop a strategy to implement corrective measures.

For more information please contact: Roxann Shapwaykeesic, Communications Officer – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4906 cell (807) 251-6876 or by email rshapwaykeesic@nan.on.ca

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