What is Jordan’s Principle?

What is Jordan’s Principle? 

Named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, Jordan’s Principle aims to ensure that ALL First Nations children, regardless of their place of residence or condition, have access to the services they require to support their development and achieve their full potential. 

Jordan’s Principle is administered by the Government of Canada, which prioritizes the best interests of the child by covering the costs for services in the areas of health, social services and education to meet the needs that current programs do not meet. 

Jordan’s Principle is applied on the basis of substantive equality in order to allow First Nations children to benefit from additional assistance when necessary to ensure that they can receive adequate services. In particular, this makes it possible to go beyond provincial services when these are insufficient. For example, if a waiting list is too long for a given service and would have the effect of compromising the child’s development, Jordans Principle could allow that child to have access to this service in the private sector, without delay. 

In summary, if a child has needs in terms of health, social services or education, Jordans Principle can help! 

Jordan River Anderson was a First Nation 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.

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.”


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.

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 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal releases its ruling in which it finds that the federal government has been discriminating against First Nations children. It orders the federal government to:1 

  1. Cease its discriminatory practices and reform the First Nations Child and Family Services 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. 

For more information, visit the website of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Since December 2020, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has broadened the eligibility criteria for Jordan’s Principle to allow access for more children. Henceforth, a request can be submitted for a child (or group of children) under the age of 18 years if they meet one of the following criteria: 

  1. The child is registered in the Indian Register or eligible to be registered under the Indian ActInformation concerning the status of parents and grandparents must be provided (name, date of birth, band number, etc.). 
  2. The child has a parent or guardian who is registered in the Indian Register or eligible to be registered under the Indian ActThis means that even if the child does not qualify for Indian status but one of the parents is eligible, they can submit a request. 
  3. The child is recognized by their nation for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle. A band council can recognize that a child belongs to its community. A letter on official letterhead from the Band or First Nation must be attached indicating that the child is a recognized member of the Nation or Band. The consent of the parents or guardian is required. 
  4. The child usually resides in a community. 

Depending on the condition and nature of the child’s needs, different services can be covered by Jordan’s Principle. 

For information purposes, here is an overview of the generally eligible services. 


  • Assessments and screenings (e.g., ADHD, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) 
  • Professional services (e.g., speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy) 
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Wheelchair ramps 
  • Mental health services 
  • Transportation to appointments 
  • Medical supplies and equipment 
  • Long-term care for children with special needsincluding respite and assistance 


Social services 

  • Hiring resources (e.g., social workers) 
  • Activities to support the development of parenting skills 
  • Personal aide – home support 
  • Specialized summer camps 
  • Respite care (for individuals or groups) 
  • Staff support and training 



  • Special education services (at school or at home) 
  • Psychoeducational assessments 
  • Specialized school transportation 
  • Teacher aide 
  • Homework assistance 
  • Technical or electronic aids 


If a child needs immediate care, please call 911 or your local emergency services number, or visit the nearest health facility. 

Two types of requests can be made: 

  • An individual request for a service intended for just one child. 
  • A group request if the service is for more than one child. 


Requests can come from different people (parent, guardian, Jordan’s Principle Community Coordinator, foster family, etc.). 

There are a few different ways to submit a request or get more information regarding service coverage by Jordan’s Principle. 

1. Contact your Jordan’s Principle Community Coordinator

Most communities have a Jordan’s Principle Coordinator whose mandate is to inform the population and stakeholders regarding available services and to support those who wish to make a request. 

To contact a Jordan’s Principle Coordinator, please contact your community health centre or band council. 

2. Contact the Jordan’s Principle Call Centre 

The mandate of this Call Centre, which is accessible in French and English, 24/7, is to serve as the first point of contact and to support parents who wish to complete a request for services. 

1-855-JP-CHILD (1-855-572-4453) 

3. Contact the Quebec Regional Office of Indigenous Services Canada at sac.principedejordan-qc-jordanprinciple.isc@canada.ca. 

For more information, contact the FNQLHSSC health sector atinfo@cssspnql.com or 418-842-1540. 

If a child needs immediate care, call 911 or the number for emergency services in your area or go to the nearest health facility. 

Various measures have been implemented to ensure that the processing of applications is simple, fast and effective. 

Response times 

For individual applications (for one child only), the federal government is required to issue a written statement regarding the decision within the following timeframes: 

  • Immediate intervention if the harm is irreparable; 
  • 12 hours if the request is urgent; 
  • 48 hours if the request is not urgent. 


For group requests (intended for more than one child such as for a specialized educator at the community’s childcare centre), the federal government is required to provide the response within the following timeframes: 

  • Immediate intervention if the harm is irreparable; 
  • 48 hours if the request is urgent; 
  • 7 days if the request is not urgent. 


Complete information must be provided and included in the file for this timeframe to apply. 

We have observed that the response times are not always respected, especially when the request must be analyzed by the headquarters of Indigenous Services Canada. 

We encourage you to contact the Jordans Principle team in the Quebec region to obtain information on the status of your requestsac.principedejordan-qc-jordanprinciple.isc@canada.ca. 

To the applicant (parent, guardian) 

When the service must be paid or reimbursed to the person making the request, following the approval of a request, a confirmation as well as a direct deposit request form is sent to them by email. This completed form must be returned to Indigenous Services Canada so that the payment can be issued. 

*Payment for the service may take several weeks. 

We encourage you to contact the Jordans Principle team in the Quebec region for information on the status of your payment request at sac.principedejordan-qc-jordanprinciple.isc@canada.ca. 

To the service provider (professional, etc.) 

Services can also be paid directly to the service provider. To do this, the provider must register with Indigenous Services Canada by contacting the regional office at sac.principedejordan-qc-jordanprinciple.isc@canada.ca. 

*** Retroactive reimbursement does not apply to group requests. 

Parents who paid for the costs of services for their children in the areas of health, social services and education between 2007 and today could benefit from retroactive reimbursement. Certain conditions apply. 

You can contact Jordan’s Principle Community Coordinators or the Indigenous Services Canada regional team at sac.principedejordan-qc-jordanprinciple.isc@canada.ca. 

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