A Brief History
Jordan River Anderson was a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. He was born in 1999, in Winnipeg, with complex medical needs that could not be treated on-reserve. After spending two years in hospital, doctors agreed he could be cared for in a family home. However, due to a jurisdictional dispute between the federal and provincial governments on who would pay the costs for his in-home care, he passed away in hospital at the age of five. He did not get the opportunity to leave the hospital and live in a family home.
Jordan’s family shared their story, and in response, Jordan’s Principle was created. In December 2007, a motion was passed unanimously in the House of Commons, calling for a child-first approach to dealing with First Nations children’s needs, establishing Jordan’s Principle. In 2008, the federal departments then known as Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs were tasked with implementing Jordan’s Principle.
In 2008, the implementation and definition was very limited in scope, and very few children qualified.
Canada Human Rights Tribunal
In January 2016, a complaint from First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCSC) and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) was substantiated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). The Government of Canada was ordered to cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle, and take measures to implement it full meaning and scope.
The CHRT has further ordered the Government of Canada to “Immediately consider Jordan’s Principle as including all jurisdictional disputes, including those between federal government departments”, and include “All First Nation children not only those children with multiple disabilities”, and that the “Government organization that is first contacted should pay for the service without the need for policy review or case conferencing before funding is provided.”
On May 26, 2017, the CHRT further ordered the Government of Canada to consider providing funding for services and supports not available to other children in Canada if those series would enable: substantive equality; culturally appropriate services; or to safeguard the best interests of the child.
In July 2016, the Government of Canada announced $382.5 million dollars over three years in new funding to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.
Canada is committed to ensuring that First Nations children have access to the services and supports they need, not matter where they live. Canada is also committed to co-developing, with First Nations, long-term policy options for the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. So far, more than 33,000 services and supports have been approved under Jordan’s Principle.
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