January 24, 2022
First Nations Excluded from Ontario COVID program
Toronto Star – First Nations children in Ontario are excluded from the provincial governments commitments “that all schools in Ontario will have access to rapid COVID tests and N95 masks for teachers, as well as upgraded masks for students and HEPA filters in each classroom.”
Excuses from provincial leaders hold that this is the responsibility of their federal counterparts.
The excuses continue from federal officials, who respond that there is limited funding, while local leaders on the ground complain that you can only apply for supplies through a complicated process entrenched in lengthy bureaucratic procedures — and applications rarely yield results.
How many HEPA filters has the Nishnawbe Aski Nation received to date for schools? The answer is none.
“We haven’t seen anything yet,” said Bobby Narcisse, the deputy grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nations in northern Ontario. “It’s just looking for that equitable access to many of those resources that every other school in the province has access to.” How would parents feel if their child was denied access to safety measures that other children were entitled to, based on their race? Most parents would say this is discrimination and would not tolerate it. Yet we permit it for Indigenous children and youth across the province.
Currently, there is urgency for the children going back to school during the worst health crisis of our lives. Premier Ford says all children have access to supplies to make school safer. We must ensure that this really means all children in Ontario.
The province should now immediately apply Jordan’s Principle, which prioritizes the safety of children first, while addressing jurisdictional infighting over financial payments later.
November 5, 2020
Jordan’s Principle Expenses
Oakville Beaver – This past June, Jordan’s Principle abruptly cut funding for his daughter’s treatment, saying it was “too expensive,” said the girl’s father, Stephen Paquette, Indigenous Knowledge Guide for the Halton District School Board. Despite repeated requests, Indigenous Services Canada has so far refused to provide any budgetary guidance so he can find less expensive alternatives for her complex medical treatment currently delivered through Indigenous Child Services Management whose services are comprehensive, holistic and preventative and most important – Indigenous.
“There are lots of services and supports out there (but) I find the struggle, the challenge, is that they don’t understand or appreciate the Indigenous world view and lived experience.” Time is of the essence for his daughter, but the judicial review he has instigated could take months, said Paquette. A judicial review is a court process which looks at administrative body decisions to ensure they are fair and lawful. Recently, however, Paquette’s lawyer was able to negotiate interim funding from Jordan’s Principle for four weeks of treatment with ISCM, but not for the number of hours his daughter requires, said Paquette.
September 16, 2020
Manitoba Judicial Review
Manitoba Government – is seeking a judicial review of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission decision to award damages to a First Nations family. “All Manitobans deserve to know what services they can access when they need them, and we believe this ruling confuses rather than clarifies which level of government is responsible for providing health care and related services to First Nations people living on reserve,” said Eileen Clarke, Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister. “A judicial review of this decision will bring much-needed attention to the legal obligations of federal and provincial governments, and bring clarity to this important issue.”
August 19, 2020
Manitoba Judicial Review
CBC – A Manitoba Human Rights Commission decision found a First Nations family was discriminated against “on the basis of their ancestry as Anishinaabe people and the disability of Dewey a teen who wasn’t able to access consistent health care on reserve because of jurisdictional disputes and systemic discrimination…The province maintaining the federal government is responsible for providing health care and related services in First Nations communities”. The MHRC adjudicator noted that “The same problems did not afflict neighbouring non-First Nations communities, and those residents enjoyed health care and related services without denial, delay, or interruption.”