Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 15, 2016.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The federal government faced criticism on Tuesday from a First Nations advocate and the NDP for seeking a judicial review of a decision from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on expanding services to non-status First Nations children living off reserve.

Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, said it is “beyond disappointing” that the federal government filed for the review just days before Christmas.

The government’s decision to seek the review was announced late Tuesday through a news release. It said a fall decision from the tribunal “was made without broad participation of First Nations communities and is a clear overreach of the tribunal’s jurisdiction.”

Story continues below advertisement

The tribunal has a statutory mandate to apply the Canadian Human Rights Act based on evidence presented and on case law. It was created by Parliament in 1977 and legally decides whether a person or organization has engaged in a discriminatory practice under the Act. The purpose of the CHRA is to protect individuals from discrimination and states all Canadians have the right to equality, equal opportunity, fair treatment and an environment free of discrimination.

In a November decision, the tribunal released findings to broaden criteria for what’s known as Jordan’s Principle. It said the criteria now include a child who is registered or eligible to be registered under the Indian Act, a child who has a parent or guardian registered under the Indian Act, a child recognized by their community for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle and a child who is ordinarily a resident on reserve.

Jordan’s Principle is named after Jordan River Anderson, a five-year-old boy who died in hospital in 2005 after a lengthy battle between the federal and Manitoba governments over home-care costs.

The federal government says the principle is designed to ensure First Nations children can access services and supports they need when they need them. Jordan’s Principle requires that children get access to services without delays caused by jurisdictional issues.

The government said Tuesday that legal issues around the scope of the tribunal’s authority to issue these decisions are important and it is seeking further guidance from the Federal Court.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller also announced that “Canada will expand eligibility under Jordan’s Principle to children who are recognized as members by their nation regardless of where they live in Canada on an ongoing basis.”

“The tireless work of First Nations advocates, and the honoured memory of Jordan River Anderson, tells us that we must do better,” Mr. Miller said. “That is why we are taking these steps to make meaningful changes to Jordan’s Principle to help more First Nations children access the supports they need.”

Story continues below advertisement

The expanded eligibility for Jordan’s Principle for children recognized by their nations will remain in effect regardless of the outcome of the judicial review, the government added.

Ms. Blackstock said the federal government is appealing the very order from the tribunal that expanded the criteria for Jordan’s Principle. She also called Canada’s reasoning for the appeal “particularly offensive.”

“Canada says it filed the appeal because there was insufficient consultation with First Nations,” she said.

“This statement ignores the fact that AFN, the Chiefs of Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation have been involved in this case for many years and that the Tribunal took pains to affirm the right of all First Nations to recognize their children versus relying on Canada’s racist Indian Act. Moreover, if Canada felt more consultation was required, it could have done it. It didn’t.”

Rachel Blaney, the NDP’s deputy critic for Indigenous Services and Crown Indigenous Relations, said she is also disappointed by the federal government’s decision.

She said the tribunal decision was about Indigenous children who are receiving substantively fewer resources than those living off reserve and other Canadian children.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think this is a disappointing method to take when the core issue is just about those resources.”

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies