AMC statement on CHRT Order and its impact on Jordan’s Principle for First Nations in Manitoba
April 12, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty 1 Territory – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues this statement in response to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) consent order issued on March 22, 2022, that will expand the application of First Nations Child and Family Services (CFS) programs to youth between the age of 18 to their 26th birthday. While the AMC is pleased by this decision, it is concerned that Jordan’s Principle services are not consistent with the CHRT order and have not been expanded at least through to the age of 26.
AMC Acting Grand Chief Eric Redhead said, “We are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction to ensuring long-term systemic changes for First Nations children and families. We are particularly pleased that the CHRT has recognized and affirmed what First Nations in Manitoba already identified years ago, that supports are needed beyond the age of 18.”
The call for services to youth over the age of 18 has recently been restated in a report co-authored by the AMC “The Implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Manitoba,” which was publicly released yesterday. This report puts forward 13 recommendations for ensuring the full implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Manitoba. The Report which is prepared within the context of the Sumner-Pruden v. Canada CHRT proceeding, includes recommendations spanning from: increasing the age of Jordan’s Principle eligibility, implementing specific actions to ensure First Nations’ access to data on Jordan’s Principle expenditures, increasing resources to enhance the existing capacity of First Nations in Manitoba, providing First Nations with funding for physical and digital infrastructure, and resources for regional coordination.
Unfortunately, the recent order by the CHRT has not also expanded Jordan’s Principle services through to their 26th birthday. “Any time CFS services extend beyond what is available to First Nations children through Jordan’s Principle or other existing services/programs, we create a perverse incentive for people to put their children in care,” said Acting Grand Chief Redhead. The AMC hopes the disconnect between the funding of CFS programs and Jordan’s Principle services will be addressed by Canada by expanding Jordan’s Principle eligibility to at least age 26.
Reflecting on the CHRT ruling, Acting Grand Chief Redhead concluded, “The AMC has recently established a very good working relationship with Canada on moving forward together to implement Jordan’s Principle. The AMC’s position is longstanding and clear: Canada must work with First Nations as the recognized rights holders on long-term reform that will respect the sovereignty and self-determination of First Nations in Manitoba. Implementing the recommendations from The Implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Manitoba, in full partnership with First Nations, would be an important step to ensuring an approach to Jordan’s Principle that respects the rights and meets the needs of First Nations children, while also honouring the sovereignty and self-determination of First Nations in Manitoba.”