What is Jordan’s Principle? 

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his at-home care. Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five years old, never having spent a day in his family home.

Payment disputes within and between the federal government and provincial governments over services for First Nations children are not uncommon. First Nations children are frequently left waiting for services they desperately need, or are denied services that are available to non-Aboriginal children.

In a landmark ruling on January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) [1] ordered the federal government to immediately take measures to implement Jordan’s Principle.

The federal government has said it is committed to improve the coordination of services and to work with its provincial and territorial partners in order to offer First Nations children, both in or outside the communities, the services required to meet their needs.

Support from the FNQLHSSC

The FNQLHSSC offers accompaniment and can provide liaison with the resources in the communities and organizations as well as with the services offered by the Quebec and Canadian governments.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Jessie Messier, NIHB Program Agent for the FNQLHSSC, by telephone at 418-842-1540 (ext. 2705) or by email at: jessie.messier@FNQLHSSC.com.

Timeline

February 23, 2007

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (Caring Society) file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Their complaint alleges racial discrimination by Canada against First Nations children because it provides less funding for child protection on the reserves, meaning that fewer services are offered to children on the reserves. The CHRC would later transfer this file to the CHRT in October 2008.

December 12, 2007

The House of Commons unanimously passes Motion No. 296 in support of Jordan’s Principle, as tabled by the New Democratic Party (NDP).

“That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately adopt a child-first principle, based on Jordan's Principle, to resolve jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations children.”

2008

The federal government adopts a definition of Jordan’s Principle, narrowing it to apply only to cases of children with complex medical needs and multiple service providers, even though there is no wording that authorizes a limiting of Jordan’s Principle in Motion No. 296.

June 24, 2011

The Pictou Landing First Nation and Maurina Beadle (mother of a child with health needs) take the federal government to court to enforce the application of Jordan’s Principle.

https://fncaringsociety.com/jordans-principle-beadle-pictou-landing-v-canada-court-case

April 4, 2013

The Federal Court rules in favour of the Pictou Landing First Nation and Maurina Beadle in their case against the federal government.

June 10, 2015

The Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) pass a resolution calling on the federal and provincial governments to recognize Jordan’s Principle and to adopt a joint statement indicating their commitment to “resolve any jurisdictional or funding dispute that may jeopardize the health of a First Nation’s citizen, without discrimination based on geography, language, severity of concurrent needs, etc.”

This resolution calls for an expanded vision of Jordan’s Principle, by stipulating that no conflict of jurisdiction should limit a First Nation member’s access to care.

January 26, 2016

The CHRT releases its ruling in which it finds that the federal government has been discriminating against First Nations children. It orders the federal government to: [2]

1. Cease its discriminatory practices and reform the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS Program).

2. Cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle and take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of the principle.

From this point on, Jordan’s Principle must be applied to all First Nations children in order to resolve all inter-governmental or intra-governmental disputes arising in all areas of services.

May 26, 2017

Following the submission by the Caring Society, the AFN and interested parties (Chiefs of Ontario and the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation) of a third request [3] indicating that the Government of Canada has not complied with the decision of January 26, 2016, the CHRT reaffirms Canada’s responsibility for First Nations children and stipulates a series of measures that must be implemented without delay by the federal government.

http://decisions.chrt-CHRT.gc.ca/chrt-CHRT/decisions/en/item/232587/index.do

How to report a Jordan’s Principle case?

Jordan’s Principle seeks to ensure that First Nations children can access, without delay due to conflicts over responsibility for payment, the services they need.

  • Does a child who is a First Nation member in your community or entourage need services?

Option 1: Contact the coordinator responsible for Jordan’s Principle in your community

Each community [4] can use federal government funding [5] to hire a resource whose role is to identify cases of children with unmet needs and to support families in accessing services required by the situation of the child. The first step for submitting the case of a child is thus to contact this person in order to determine the resources necessary for meeting the child’s needs. Contact your health centre or nursing station for more information.

Option 2: Report the child’s situation to the Health Canada resource responsible for Jordan’s Principle

If the child is not receiving the services he/she needs, you may report the child’s situation to the Health Canada resource responsible for the application of Jordan’s Principle at 1-800-567-9604. You can also send an email to: jordan-dgspni-fnihb-quebec@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Involvement of partners

Regional Coordination Committee for Jordan’s Principle

Mobilization of partners is a fundamental component in the work to implement Jordan’s Principle. A regional coordination committee was thus created to identify difficulties and solutions associated with the services offered to First Nations children. The committee may also be presented with certain complex cases in order to find solutions that will facilitate access to care.

The Regional Coordination Committee for Jordan’s Principle is made up of the following:

  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Quebec Region (INAC-QC)
  • First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC)

  • Health Canada, Quebec Region (FNIHB)

  • Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS)

  • Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones (SAA)

  • Other (as required)

 

 

[2] First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (for the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada), 2016 CHRT 2.

[3] The CHRT had previously issued two notices of non-compliance to the federal government. Decision of April 26, 2016: http://decisions.chrt-CHRT.gc.ca/chrt-CHRT/decisions/en/item/143741/index.do. Decision of September 14, 2016: http://decisions.chrt-CHRT.gc.ca/chrt-CHRT/decisions/en/item/181627/index.do.

[4] Does not cover Inuit or the Cree and Naskapi Nations.

[5] First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Health Canada).