Human Rights Tribunal issues second warning for federal reform of child welfare system

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued a Second Compliance Order against the federal government in the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) proceedings. The new ruling insists that the Canadian Government take steps to reform policies and procedures in regards to First Nations child welfare.

This is the second ruling since the Tribunal took place on January 26, 2016, which found that the federal government is racially discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children and their families.

NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler commented on the second ruling this past week. “This decision recognizes that remote and northern communities face vastly different realities in the delivery of child and family services and we are pleased that the Tribunal agrees that these remoteness realities must be addressed Canada-wide in overhauling these services to First Nations.”

A human rights complaint was first launched in 2007 in order to address these issues. “First Nations Child and Family Caring Society et al v. Attorney General of Canada” was filed to bring issues of First Nations child welfare to light and help bring about reform.

While First Nations groups like NAN are pleased to the see the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal taking action, they have yet to see a cohesive response from the federal government.

Perhaps the loudest voice in the conversation is that of Cindy Blackstock, the Executive Director of FNSFCS. Blackstock continues to keep the issue of First Nations child welfare on the minds of Canadians. In her One on One interview with Peter Mansbridge she said, “Equality for kids is something you do in a leap, not a shuffle.”

Blackstock and all those behind the cause would like to see the government stop relying on non-answers and report reading as an excuse not to help these children. They believe that Canada already knows what it needs to do; now it just needs to get done.