APTN National News
The federal government has withdrawn its request for a judicial review in Federal Court on sections of a ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal made on Jordan’s Principal, the minister of Indigenous Services announced Thursday.
The federal government had launched a judicial review in June after the tribunal issued a non-compliance order the previous month on its original ruling in January 2016.
The tribunal ordered Canada to process claims within 12 to 48 hours, and do so without case conferencing.
Canada had issues with all claims being accepted within a 48 hours and no clinical case conferencing.
Exceptions were made in both areas, a spokesperson for Minister Jane Philpott said, that was agreed upon by the tribunal, such as claims where case conferencing could be needed.
“Together, we proposed amendments to the May 2017 ruling that are in the best interests of First Nations children and the Tribunal agreed,” said Philpott in a statement.
Cindy Blackstock, who first filed the complaint with the tribunal over a decade ago, said she was happy to see the government end the court challenge but there is more work to do be done.
“I am pleased they withdrew the judicial review on these points,” said Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. “That said the substantive issues on First Nations child and family service funding and Canada’s full compliance with Jordan’s Principle remain outstanding.”
NDP MP Charlie Angus said that includes $155 million in funding that was supposed to go to child and family services to gap a shortfall – but did not, despite a vote in parliament.
“You’re still in non-compliance on child and family and services. There is still serious concern,” said Angus Thursday at the Indigenous Services committee meeting.
“That money did not flow. Actions matter in this.”
Philpott didn’t directly answer why the money didn’t flow but said she knows child and family services is an important issue.
“That is why I have called an emergency meeting,” she said before the committee chair cut off the line of questioning for going over the allotted time.
Philpott was referring to a meeting she has called for early next year with people involved in First Nations child and family services.
The meeting was announced Nov. 2.
Several people following a live feed of the meeting on APTN News’ Facebook page questioned how it can be called an emergency meeting when it isn’t happening for weeks.
As of Oct. 31 the government had approved 24,196 services and supports for First Nations children said Philpott.
The approved claims include mental health supports, speech therapy and medical equipment.
She added that under the former Conservative government there was zero accepted claims in 2015.
Jordan’s Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Jordan spent over two years in hospital caught in a jurisdictional dispute between the Manitoba and federal government.
He remained in hospital as both governments argued over who should pay for his home care.
Jordan was five-years-old when he died.
Jordan’s Principle is supposed to remove the jurisdictional issues as the federal government is tasked with paying for support and services for First Nations children.