October 31, 2016 — Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) President Paul Elliott has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling upon the government to comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CRHT) order to end discrimination against First Nations children in the delivery of child welfare services on reserves.
OSSTF/FEESO is joining several organizations and other labour affiliates, including the Canadian Labour Congress, to put pressure on the government to support an NDP motion that will be introduced on Tuesday, November 1 that would call for the end of discrimination against First Nations children and comply with the Human Rights Tribunal ruling.
The ruling by the CHRT was handed down on January 26, 2016 after a complaint was launched by Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations. The complainants alleged that Canada discriminated against First Nations children on-reserve and in the Yukon on the basis of race and/or national or ethnic origin, by providing inequitable and insufficient funding for child welfare services contrary to section 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Tribunal found in favour of the complainants and ordered Canada to cease its discriminatory practices and reform its policies.
The NDP motion calls for a number of actions, including:
- An immediate investment of an additional $155 million in new funding for the delivery of child welfare services that has been identified as the shortfall this year alone;
- Implementation of the full definition of Jordan’s Principle as outlined in a resolution passed by the House on December 12, 2007;
- Full compliance of all orders made by the CHRT;
- A commitment to stop fighting Indigenous families in court who are seeking to access services covered by the federal government