Edmonton, Alberta – January 26, 2016 – Chief Steve Courtoreille, Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta adds his voice to celebrate the efforts of Cindy Blackstock , Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.
“Today’s victory is due to the commitment and dedication of Dr. Blackstock,” states the Grand Chief before continuing, “her strength and spirit will help to achieve equity for our children and for our communities. She is a true warrior.”
On January 26, 2016, The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (Tribunal) issued its decision regarding an allegation that the department of Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) provision of First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) and implementation of Jordan’s Principle is flawed, inequitable and discriminatory.
The Tribunal found that INAC’s FNCFS program denied services and resulted in adverse impacts for many First Nation children and families living on-reserve. The two main funding methods actually encouraged and facilitated removing children from their families. The tribunal also found that INAC’s restricted implementation of Jordan’s Principle resulted in gaps, delays and denials.
Perhaps most damning was the finding that INAC was aware of the adverse impacts and despite that knowledge failed to significantly modify the FNCFS program.
“There has been a change in government in this country and we are very hopeful about a new relationship, but in many ways much has remained the same. The old government was content to set up policies that hurt our children, families and communities and we are still feeling the effects of these policies,” states the Grand Chief.
“The new government has made a commitment to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and strengthening the relationship processes. We need to start working together so that we don’t lose any more of our children and our people. The Chiefs of Treaty 8 (Alberta) are committed to working with our Federal and Provincial partners to correct previous wrongs and work to close discriminatory gaps and practices.”