Statement - It’s time to fix the Child Welfare system on reserve

March 21, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry, issues the following statement:

“Hearings will continue tomorrow before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in relation to the complaint, filed ten years ago, by The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations regarding discrimination in the child welfare system on reserve.  The Tribunal is now being asked to make final orders in this case, in order to provide all parties with clear parameters and objectives in the implementation of this decision.”

“Throughout the proceedings and over the last year, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has encouraged the parties to resolve these issues amongst themselves, outside of the lengthy litigation process -- mobilizing itself in unprecedented ways to bring about a constructive resolution of this litigation.  The Commission’s lengthy history of involvement in this complaint is an important example of its work in public interest litigation, and demonstrates its commitment to holding all federally-regulated entities, including the federal government, to account when discriminatory practices exist.

“The Commission has presented its full submissions to the parties and the Tribunal, and joins the chorus of experts in calling for immediate relief in regards to Jordan’s Principle and mental health services for First Nations children in Ontario. These submissions are presented with the public interest at its heart, taking into account the needs of the victims, and the ongoing work of all parties seeking realistic and sustainable remedies for the children and families impacted by this decision.”  

 “As we said last month -- a handful of people have the responsibility to implement the Tribunal ruling and fix the Child Welfare system – together. Only when the children and families -- those living with the discrimination inherent in the child welfare system --  have experienced actual change in the services they receive, will the Commission consider all parties to be moving in the right direction.” 

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