Jordan's Principle

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Jordan's Principle is a child-first and needs-based principle used in Canada to ensure that First Nations children living on and off reserve have equitable access to all government funded public services. It holds that First Nations children should not be denied access to public services while governments fight over who should pay. In order to ensure substantive equality, this can also include services that are not ordinarily available to other children. According to the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada, the organization that hosts the Jordan's Principle campaign:

Jordan’s Principle ensures that First Nations children can access all public services when they need them. Services need to be culturally-based and take into full account the historical disadvantage linked to colonization that many First Nations children live with. The government of first contact pays for the service and resolves jurisdictional/payment disputes later.[1]

Jordan's Principle is reflective of the non-discrimination provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Canadian domestic law that does not allow differential treatment on the basis of race or ethnic origin.

History[edit]

Jordan's Principle was established by First Nations in response to the death of five-year-old Jordan River Anderson, a child from Norway House Cree Nation who suffered from Carey Fineman Ziter syndrome, a rare muscular disorder that required years of medical treatment in a Winnipeg hospital. After spending the first two years of his life in a hospital, doctors cleared Jordan to live in a family home near the hospital in Winnipeg. However, the federal and provincial governments could not resolve who was financially responsible for the necessary home care. For over two years, the federal government and Manitoba provincial government continued to argue while Jordan remained in the hospital. In 2005, at the age of five, Jordan died in the hospital; he never had the opportunity to live in a family home.[2]

In 2005, the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society released the Wen:De: We are Coming to the Light of Day report. Drawing on a team of over twenty researchers, the reports provided a holistic and detailed review of the federal government's First Nations child and family services policy and sets out recommendations for improvement. The research found that jurisdictional disputes continued to have significant impacts on the lived experiences of First Nations children, particularly those with special needs. Among the policy recommendations, the report recommended that Jordan's Principle be adopted by the federal government and provincial/territorial governments.[3]

Private Members Motion 296 in support of Jordan's Principle was passed unanimously in the House of Commons of Canada on December 12, 2007. [4]

In February 2015, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) released the Jordan's Principle Working Group report named Without denial, delay or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equitable services through Jordan’s Principle, highlighting several gaps in Jordan’s Principle implementation. [5]

In June 2015, the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission made Jordan's Principle the third of its 94 "Calls to Action" for governments in Canada, stating, "We call upon all levels of government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle."[6]

In November 2018, the Alberta provincial government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jordan’s Principle with the First Nations Health Consortium and the federal government.[7]

In June 2019, the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice 12.10 calls for the federal and provincial/territorial governments to immediately implement Jordan's Principle for all First Nations (Status and non-Status) children. [8]

Canadian human rights case[edit]

In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, a Canadian legal institution with a mandate to adjudicate cases where there has been an alleged breach of the Canadian Human Rights Act, found that the Government of Canada's improper implementation of Jordan's Principle resulted in discrimination against First Nations children and youth on the basis of race and national ethnic origin and ordered the Government of Canada to "cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle and to take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle."[9]

Since January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued seven remedial non-compliance orders against Canada for failing to abide by the original decision and implement the proper definition of Jordan's Principle.[10] [11]The third non-compliance order was issued in May 2017 after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the Government of Canada continued to repeat "its pattern of conduct and narrow focus with respect to Jordan’s Principle." Twenty-two additional legal orders in regards to Jordan's Principle were made at this time.[12]

The fourth non-compliance order was issued by the Tribunal in November 2017 to provide amended orders to the May 2017 order. The seventh non-compliance order was issued by the Tribunal in February 2019. Per the non-compliance orders, the Tribunal ordered the federal government to:

  • Apply Jordan's Principle to all First Nations children under local age of majority living on and off reserve;
  • Apply Jordan's Principle based on the needs of the child, not just what is typically available to other children (normative standard of care);
  • Ensure that administrative procedures do not delay service provision; and
  • Non-Status First Nations children in urgent situations and who are accepted members of their community be covered.
Jordan's Principle Information Poster

The Tribunal also ordered the federal government to follow specific timeframes when making a determination on a request:

  • Individual cases:
  • Urgent: within 12 hours
  • Non-urgent: within 48 hours
  • Group cases:
  • Urgent: within 48 hours
  • Non-urgent: within 1 week [13]

The seventh non-compliance order, an interim relief order, was issued in February 2019. The Tribunal ordered the federal government to provide non-status First Nations children who are recognized members of their First Nation and who have urgent or life-threatening needs services under Jordan's Principle. [14]

Alanis Obomsawin's 2016 documentary film We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice argues that the federal government has fought applying Jordan's Principle to such a degree that an $11-million fund set aside to cover its costs was never used.[15] Anderson was also the subject of Obomsawin's 2019 film Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger.[16]

Jurisdictional disputes[edit]

In Canada, there is a lack of clarity between the federal and provincial/territorial governments around who should pay for government services for First Nations children even when the service is normally available to other children. Too often the practice is for the governments to deny or delay the child's receipt of services pending resolution of the payment dispute. Under Jordan's Principle, where a jurisdictional dispute arises between two government parties (provincial/territorial or federal) or between two departments or ministries of the same government, regarding payment for services for a First Nations child, the government or ministry/department of first contact must pay for the services without delay or disruption. The paying government party can refer the matter to jurisdictional dispute mechanisms after the service or support has been provided.[17] A jurisdictional dispute is not always necessary for the application of Jordan's Principle.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (2018). Ensuring First Nations Children Receive the Public Services They Need When They Need Them.
  2. ^ "Jordan's Principle". The Caring Society. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  3. ^ First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (2005). Wen:De: We Are Coming to the Light of Day. Retrieved 2018-06-06
  4. ^ https://openparliament.ca/debates/2007/12/5/jean-crowder-1/ Open Parliament (2005). Aboriginal Affairs, Private Members' Business
  5. ^ Assembly of First Nations (2015). Without denial, delay, or disruption: Ensuring First Nation's children's access to equitable services through Jordan's Principle.
  6. ^ Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2012). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.
  7. ^ "Alberta government signs Jordan's Principle agreement with feds, First Nations group". Global news. November 16, 2018.
  8. ^ https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Final_Report_Vol_1b.pdf National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019). Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and Girls, Volume 1b.
  9. ^ First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada). Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (2016 CHRT 2).
  10. ^ https://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/chrt_infographic_web.pdf First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (2019). Bearing Witness for First Nations Kids at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
  11. ^ Barrera, Jorge (2019-04-17). "Ottawa fighting First Nations groups over compensation for child welfare discrimination". CBC. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  12. ^ "First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) - Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". decisions.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  13. ^ "First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) - Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". decisions.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  14. ^ First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada). Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (2019 CHRT 7).
  15. ^ "We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice exposes Canada's barriers to reconciliation". The Globe and Mail. 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  16. ^ Peter Howell, "Indigenous films highlight Canadian slate at TIFF 2019". Toronto Star, July 31, 2019.
  17. ^ Blackstock, C. "Jordan's principle: Editorial update". Paediatr Child Health. 13: 589–90. PMC 2603509 . PMID 19436554.
  18. ^ "First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) - Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". decisions.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-07-02.

Further reading[edit]

  • Joint Declaration of Support for Jordan's Principle[1]
  • Canadian Journal of Medicine's editorial[2]
  • The Jordan's Principle Implementation Act[3]
  • Government of Manitoba's respv.mb.ca/news/index.html?archive=2008-9-01&item=4376|title=Province of Manitoba | News Releases | Manitoba Reaches Agreement With Federal Government To Implement Jordan's Principle|website=Province of Manitoba|language=en|access-date=2019-02-19}}</ref>
  • Auditor General of Canada Report (May 2008)[4]
  • Federal Government of Canada responses to Standing Committee on Public Accounts (2009)[5] jordan was very sick and died on dec 12 2005

External Links[edit]

●     https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/services/jordans-principle.htm

●     https://fncaringsociety.com/jordans-principle


  1. ^ "Joint Declaration of Support for Jordan's Principle". web.archive.org. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  2. ^ Attaran, Amir; MacDonald, Noni (2007-08-14). "Jordan's Principle, governments' paralysis". CMAJ. 177 (4): 321–321. doi:10.1503/cmaj.070950. ISSN 0820-3946. PMC 1942093. PMID 17698813.
  3. ^ "The Jordan's Principle Implementation Act". web2.gov.mb.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  4. ^ Government of Canada, Office of the Auditor General of Canada (2008-05-06). "Chapter 4—First Nations Child and Family Services Program—Indian and Northern Affairs Canada". www.oag-bvg.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  5. ^ "Government Response - 8512-402-43 - House of Commons of Canada". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-19.