Cindy Blackstock

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Cindy Blackstock
Ph.D.
Born Cindy Blackstock
c.1964
British Colombia
Nationality Canadian
Ethnicity Mixed (European / Gitxsan)
Occupation social worker, associate professor, activist,
Organization First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
Awards Atkinson Charitable Foundation’s Economic Justice fellowship (2009), National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (2011), Trudeau Mentorship (2012), Honorary Degree from the University of Northern British Columbia (2012)
Website
www.fncaringsociety.com

Cindy Blackstock is a Canadian-born Gitxsan activist for child welfare and Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. She is also an associate professor for the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta.[1]

Human rights complaint and Federal court proceedings[edit]

Blackstock has been under surveillance since 2007 by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.[2][3] The monitoring has been linked[4] to a human rights complaint [5] filed by the Assembly of First Nations and her employer, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act [CHRA] alleging Canada discriminates against First Nations children by consistently underfunding child welfare on reserves. The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations cite reports documenting the inequality and the impacts on children including reports issued by the Auditor General of Canada[6][7] and Standing Committee of Public Accounts[8][9] to support their discrimination claims.

The Federal Government has consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Act to deal with the complaint. Canada was unsuccessful in trying to convince the Canadian Human Rights Commission (the vetting body for complaints filed under the CHRA) to dismiss the complaint and it was referred for a full hearing by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2008. Canada then tried to have the case dismissed by the Federal Court on the jurisdictional issue but was unsuccessful. Canada brought a motion to have the case dismissed to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in December 2010 and the matter was heard by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Chairperson, Shirish Chotalia, in June 2010. Chair Chotalia released her ruling[10] in March 2011 dismissing the child welfare case suggesting that the CHRA required a mirror comparator group and child welfare services funded by the Federal Government for First Nations could not be compared to services provided to all others by the provinces and territories.

The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Human Rights Commission appealed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision to Federal Court. In its ruling[11] released in April 2012, the Federal Court overturned the decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal suggesting the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal erred in law as no comparator group is required for a discrimination analysis and that the hearing was unfair as Tribunal Chair Chotalia reviewed thousands of pages of extraneous material in arriving at her decision. The Federal Court ruling cleared the way for a differently constituted panel at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to conduct a full hearing on the discrimination matter.

A subsequent appeal of the Federal Court ruling by the Canadian Government was dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal [12] in March 2013Federal Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal began hearing evidence on the discrimination claim on February 25, 2013.

On April 18, 2012, the Federal Court ruled[13] that further scrutiny is needed to determine whether Ottawa is discriminating against First Nations children on reserves by underfunding child welfare services, and ordered the Tribunal to hold a new hearing on the case.[14] On March 11, 2013, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Canada's appeal of the Federal Court Decision[15] clearing the way for the Tribunal to hear evidence on the discrimination claim.[16]

See also[edit]

  • Hi-Ho Mistahey!, a 2013 film about "Shannen's Dream" that director Alanis Obomsawin has said originated from a discussion with Blackstock.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cindy Blackstock". Faculty of Extension - Professoriate Directory. University of Alberta. 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ Francis, Annette (14 November 2011). "Federal Aboriginal Affairs department spying on advocate for First Nations children". APTN National News. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Harper, Tim (November 15, 2011). "Tim Harper: Government spies on advocate for native children". The Star (Ottawa). Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Govt surveillance of native youth advocate Cindy Blackstock , http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/11/17/govt-surveillance-of-native-youth-advocate-cindy-blackstock/
  5. ^ http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/fnwitness/HumanRightsComplaintForm-2007.pdf
  6. ^ "Chapter 4—Programs for First Nations on Reserves". 2011 June Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Auditor General of Canada. June 2011. Retrieved Jul 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Chapter 4—First Nations Child and Family Services Program—Indian and Northern Affairs Canada". 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Auditor General of Canada. May 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts". Standing Committee on Public Accounts. March 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/AboutCommittees.aspx?Cmte=PACP&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1
  10. ^ http://chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/search/files/2011%20chrt%204.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/fnwitness/FNCFCS%20summary%2018-04-2012%20ENG.pdf
  12. ^ http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/en/2013/2013fca75/2013fca75.html
  13. ^ http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/fnwitness/T-578-11%20Order%20English%20%28April%2018%2C%202012%29.pdf
  14. ^ Clibbon, Jennifer (Apr 19, 2012). "First Nations child advocate wins 1st battle with Ottawa on services". CBC News. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  15. ^ http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/en/2013/2013fca75/2013fca75.html
  16. ^ Crusader of Aboriginal child services Cindy Blackstock won't back down on Trailbreakers
  17. ^ "Attawapiskat woman's struggle focus of TIFF film". CBC News. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 

External links[edit]