TORONTO – The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision about Canada’s discrimination against First Nation children and young people in the child welfare system is being seen as a significant victory by Chiefs of Ontario.
“Today is a significant victory and a first step towards ending the child welfare crisis. Our communities are ready for change and ready to gain back control when it comes to their children and families. I must commend our leadership and technicians who have spent the past two years working on this file,” says Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “There is much more work to be done in the coming months as we work to ensure these orders are fully implemented, and we will continue to rely upon our strong and willing partners in both the federal and provincial governments. All children and families in our 133 First Nations have greater potential because of this ruling; now implementing the order will require everyone working together – that will be our most import next step.”
“The health and well-being of our children is not just a matter of child welfare,” said AIAI Grand Chief Joel Abram, co-chair of the Chiefs Committee on Social Development. “We need departments and ministries working together to help us improve the well-being of our children. We are very pleased with the Tribunal’s decision. However, this is still a short-term remedy. We need to work together with Canada and Ontario towards a long-term plan to bring our children back to their communities, and back to their families.”
This Tribunal concluded that Canada continues to discriminate against First Nations kids, and ordered short-term remedies that Canada has to provide to help fix discrimination now. As this decision is implemented, Canada will continue to work with First Nations and others towards broader reform of child welfare services.
In this motion, the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) asked the Tribunal to order Canada to fund band representative services and mental health services for First Nations children and young people in Ontario. The Tribunal agreed and ordered Canada to fund mental health services and band representative services in Ontario going forward and to reimburse First Nations, Tribal Councils, and others that have been providing these services out of their own revenue back to January 26, 2016.