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First Nations supporters outside the Brantford courthouse where Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court ruled on Nov. 14, 2014, that a hospital cannot force a cancer-stricken 11-year-old to resume chemotherapy because the Constitution protects her mother’s right to treat the child with traditional aboriginal medicine.Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

The Ontario government now has until April 2 to appeal a controversial court ruling that said the family of an 11-year-old First Nations girl with cancer has a constitutional right to choose traditional aboriginal medicine over chemotherapy.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General says the original March 13 deadline to file an appeal was extended because the government is still working with the family to find "the most respectful and effective" ways to provide health care for the girl.

The girl, whose name cannot be revealed due to a publication ban, was receiving chemo last September before her mother removed her and took her to Florida for alternative therapy.

That decision prompted the McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton to take the Brant Family and Children's Services to court, seeking to have the child apprehended and placed back into chemotherapy.

A judge dismissed the hospital's application in November, saying traditional aboriginal treatments were in existence before First Nations communities were in contact with Europeans, and were consequently entitled to special protection in Canada.

The girl's mother said at a recent conference on aboriginal medicine that she has met with provincial government officials and they been "respectful and compassionate."

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

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