The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is hosting a national summit in Winnipeg Sept. 12-13 to discuss issues related to Jordan’s Principle, a bill that requires governments to provide First Nations children services without delays caused by jurisdictional issues.
Families, community-based practitioners and health care providers are gathering at the RBC Convention Centre to share experiences and practices related to accessing health, social and education services for First Nations children. The work done so far to implement Jordan’s Principle and further steps to be taken will also be discussed.
Dr. Cindy Blackstock will be the keynote speaker and there will also be a presentation by Indigenous Services Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch deputy minister Valerie Gideon, as well as a screening of a film trailer by Alanis Obomasawin.
Workshop topics include understanding the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling related to Jordan’s Principle, dialogue sessions on mental wellness and life promotion, and sharing circles on children with disabilities and special needs.
Jordan’s Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson from Norway House Cree Nation, who was born with complex medical needs and who spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the Manitoba and federal governments argued over which would pay for his at-home care. Jordan died in hospital at the age of five.
Jordan’s Principle requires that First Nations children have access to all public services in a way that is reflective of their distinct cultural needs, takes full account of the historical disadvantage linked to colonization, and ensures they do not experience any discrimination (such as service denials, delays or disruption) because they are First Nations. In 2016 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle so that all First Nations children have access to essential services without jurisdictional delays, disruptions or denials.