The Indigenous Bar Association Call upon Canada to Uphold the CHRT Decision and Honour Its Commitment to Fund First Nations Children

The Indigenous Bar Association Call upon Canada to Uphold the CHRT Decision and Honour Its Commitment to Fund First Nations Children

by pmnationtalk on October 16, 2019255 Views

The Indigenous Bar Association Call upon Canada to Uphold the CHRT Decision and Honour Its Commitment to Fund First Nations Children

OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association calls upon Canada to honour its commitments to First Nation’s children. The October 4, 2019 announcement by the Attorney General of Canada to seek both a judicial review a stay of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s (“​CHRT​”) decision on compensation for First Nations children and their families is an act of aggression that upholds the chronic underfunding for First Nation’s children. It is inconsistent with the government’s purported nations-to-nation relationship and harkens back to the Indian Residential School era.

The decision, ​First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations v Attorney General of Canada,2019 CHRT 39, (the “​Decision​”) comes from the CHRT which has, to date, issued an astounding eight non-compliance orders to Canada for discriminating against First Nations children living on-reserve by not properly funding child and family services.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples – and we are committed to building a renewed relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Advancing reconciliation means changing systemically racist laws, policies, and practices, which negatively impact the lives of Indigenous Peoples.”

Canada’s continued discrimination and denial of discriminatory practices is contradictory to reconciliation and renders hollow the Prime Minister’s commitment to building a renewed relationship. The underfunding of First Nations children and the corresponding impact is well documented by several reports such as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Final Report of the Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Indigenous Bar Association calls upon Canada to respect its constitutional and human rights obligations, uphold the honour of the Crown and adhere to the rule of law, rather than continuing to litigate against First Nations children and deny them basic human rights.

The Decision was brought forward on behalf of First Nation children by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, which was founded by Dr. Cindy Blackstock along with the Assembly of First Nations as co-complainants. In a recent interview Dr. Blackstock said, “It’s really disappointing to see all the rhetoric about reconciliation and then to see governments putting out what I see as misinformation today by saying “‘well, we’re not against compensation,’ but [their] legal order says they want to quash [the decision]. They say we should be talking about this to settle compensation, when the reason we had to litigate it in the first place is because the government refused to mediate and they haven’t talked to us since the order came down.”

Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association said, “it is time Canada stopped hiding behind the labyrinth of delay and procedural road blocks, It is time to provide First Nation’s children the same opportunities and funding as all other Canadian children. It is time for justice, which First Nation’s children have been denied for far too long.”

The Indigenous Bar Association’s calls on Canada to accept responsibility for their wilful and reckless discrimination against First Nations children and implement the ruling of the CHRT.

The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

For more information please visit ​www.indigenousbar.ca​.

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