Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare

In 2007, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a complaint against the federal government of Canada, alleging that child welfare services provided to First Nations children and families on-reserve were flawed, inequitable and discriminatory. They ask that the Tribunal find that First Nations children are being discriminated against and order appropriate remedies. The government countered this, stating that its services cannot be compared to those provided by the provinces/territories and that they do not offer a service in accordance with the Canadian Human Rights Act. Accordingly, the government asks that the case be dismissed.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal began hearing evidence in 2013 and on January 26, 2016 issued its decision. The Tribunal ruled in favour of the plantiffs finding that First Nations children were being discriminated against. For more information about the Tribunal's landmark ruling, see this information sheet produced by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

The following ten Information Sheets offer a review of the statements provided to the Tribunal by each of the parties including: the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Chiefs of Ontario, Amnesty International and the federal government’s department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. They summarize both the past and current state of child welfare services available for First Nations children and families living on-reserve; discuss programs and policies as well as national and international law relevant in First Nations child welfare; summarize each parties’ main arguments before the Tribunal; and present each parties’ suggested remedies given a decision that discrimination has taken place.