Transparency needed on extent of underfunding of child protection services in Indigenous communities

OTTAWA – After the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled a fourth compliance order against the Liberal government, NDP Indigenous Affairs (youth) Critic Charlie Angus called on Minister Philpott to make public the funding gap the Liberal government has been ordered to correct.

“After two years, a million dollars in legal fees and four compliance orders, Canadians need to know the extent of underfunding of First Nations child welfare,” said Angus. “The Tribunal has ordered the government to increase funding for child protection to correct this unacceptable situation. The Tribunal also ordered to reimburse the cost of child welfare services for the past two years. The government owes Canada and First Nations the truth.”

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal originally ruled against the government in January 2016 after a nearly ten-year legal battle with the AFN, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and other organizations, finding that the First Nations Child and Family Services program was discriminatory and violated the rights of First Nations children. Since then, the Tribunal has regularly issued orders to the government to end its discriminatory funding practices.

"The government was ordered to end underfunding in January 2016. Now, more than two years later, we still don’t know the true extent of how much First Nations kids were being short-changed,” added Angus. “If this government is serious about reconciliation, they will make this public as a first step to ending the discrimination."