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Discrimination Against First Nations Children in Canada

    August 10, 2017

    Federal government’s failure to comply with Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling at issue next week during United Nations review

    Federal government’s failure to comply with Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling at issue next week during United Nations review

    Prominent Canadian child welfare and human rights organizations want the United Nations’ top body for combatting racism to take the federal government to task over its persistent failure to ensure that First Nations children have fair and equitable access to the care and support they need.

    On August 14 and 15th Canadian government officials will appear before the independent expert body that oversees compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In past reviews, the Committee has raised concerns the disproportionately large numbers of First Nations children who are being placed in state care away from their families and cultures.

    February 23, 2017

    23 February 2017

    The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
    284 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
    mcu@justice.gc.ca

    The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
    Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
    10 Wellington, North Tower
    Gatineau, Québec K1A 0H4
    minister@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

     

    Dear Ministers,

    When it comes to ending discrimination against children, there is no excuse for half-measures and no time for delay.

    Today marks 10 years since the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations launched an historic challenge under the Canadian Human Rights Act, a challenge aimed at compelling the federal government to finally end the longstanding, systemic underfunding of First Nations children’s services.

    February 06, 2017
    DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

     

    Every child has the right to grow up in a safe and healthy home. 

    Sometimes families need a little help to make sure their children are getting the care they need. Our government has set up agencies to provide that help. 

    But the agencies can’t do their jobs if the government doesn’t provide enough money.

    For many years, the agencies supporting families in First Nations communities have had to work with much less money than organizations supporting families in other communities. At the same time, the needs of First Nations families are often greater because of the hardships caused by a long history of government policies that have hurt their communities.

    One terrible result is that support agencies are taking very large numbers of First Nations children away from their families. This is because the agencies don`t have enough money to provide families the support they need. One study found that in some provinces, more than 1 in 10 First Nations children had been taken away from their families.

    January 26, 2017

    One year ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the Canadian government`s persistent underfunding of supports for First Nations families was a form of racial discrimination – and ordered immediate action.

    It was a landmark day for human rights and for the thousands of First Nations children and young people living in state care simply because First Nations children`s agencies are unable to provide the support their families need.

    But a full year later, the most basic form of discrimination identified by the Tribunal – the failure to provide enough funds to meet the actual needs of First Nations children and families – has not been addressed.

    In last year`s federal budget, the government significantly increased the funds allocated for First Nations family services. But the increase was not enough to close the gap between First Nations children and all other children in Canada.

    A year is a long time in the life of a children taken from her family and community.

    January 26, 2016

     

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal which has ordered the federal government to take immediate action to end the discriminatory underfunding of child and family services for First Nations children on reserves and in the Yukon.

    Although the provinces and territories have jurisdiction to set standards for child welfare services, the federal government sets the funding levels for those services delivered to First Nations children and families on reserves and in the Yukon.

    The Tribunal concluded that the federal government’s arbitrary funding formula fails to consider “the actual service needs of First Nations children and families” and creates “incentives to remove children from their homes and communities.”

    The discrimination complaint, initiated by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, first came before the Tribunal in 2008. Amnesty International intervened in the case, as did Chiefs of Ontario.

    January 26, 2016
    “This is a great day for First Nations children and all Canadians who believe in justice and fairness.” Dr. Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

    In a landmark decision issued today, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the federal government’s longstanding underfunding of child and family services on First Nations reserves and in the Yukon is a form of racial discrimination that must be stopped.

    January 20, 2016

    “Reconciliation means not having to say sorry twice,” Dr. Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

    Education. Health Care. Child protection.

    For years, persistent federal government underfunding of these basic services in First Nations reserves has put  children at risk. It has denied them the kinds of opportunities that other young people in Canada often take for granted. And it has stood in the way of First Nations communities healing from the terrible harms inflicted through the residential schools programme and other colonialist policies.

    Now, we may be on the verge of an historic breakthrough.

    Next Tuesday, January 26, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is scheduled to deliver its long-awaited decision on whether or not the federal government’s underfunding of child protections services and other family supports is a form of racial discrimination.

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