News

  • Press Release
    March 11, 2010

    While federal government uses legal loopholes to keep flawed policies for First Nations children in place, documents obtained under access to information say that inequitable child welfare funding contributes to the fact that there are more First Nations children in child welfare care today than at the height of residential schools. The federal government’s response to the “dire” inequality facing First Nations children has been to partially implement a flawed funding formula known as the Enhanced Funding Approach that the Auditor General of Canada has already ruled inequitable in few provinces.

    Canada is currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal because of its inequitable treatment of First Nations children. However, in December of 2009, the federal government filed a motion to have the case dismissed, claiming that the Canadian Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in government services, does not apply to the funding decisions that determine the level and quality of services to First Nations communities.

    Cross examinations on affidavits filed by Canada in support of the motion and by First Nations and others in opposition to the motion have been held last week and this week in Ottawa.

    Read the full Press Release: Aboriginal Child Welfare in Dire situation; more children in foster care than at the height the Residential School system!.

  • Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth releases annual report noting inequities in First Nations child welfare.
    March 08, 2010
  • Amnesty International releases new report
    March 04, 2010

    Amnesty International releases new report calling on Canada to accept the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and provide equitable funding for First Nations Child Welfare

  • INAC's top official on child welfare, Odette Johnston takes the stand at child welfare tribunal
    March 04, 2010

    Odette Johnston, INAC's top official on child welfare was cross examined on Friday February 26, 2010 on her affidavit in support of Canada's application to derail the tribunal on First Nations child welfare. She confirmed knowing of the Auditor General's (AOG) report but was not sure if the Auditor General had concerns about INAC funding program. She confirmed that the Auditor General's report is not a key driver in INAC's work and that INAC has moved forward with only two recommendations (reporting back on their progress and they have made the decision to leave the definition of culturally appropriate to First Nations). There appears to have been no progress in addressing the inequalities identified in the AOG report. This is surprising given that Ms. Johnston heads the division that prepared government's responses that appear in the Auditor General's report.

  • New Brunswick Ombudsman Bernard Richard released vital report on First Nations child welfare
    March 03, 2010

    Culturally based equity in child welfare services are vital to improving children's wellbeing.
    Learn more here www1.gnb.ca/cnb/multimedia/display-e.asp?ID=2379&num=1

  • Cindy Blackstock to be Cross Examined on Tuesday Feb 23
    February 18, 2010

    On February 23, 2010, Cindy Blackstock will undergo cross examination by Canada on her affidavit in opposition to Canada's application to dismiss the tribunal on a legal technicality. The cross examination will happen from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tribunal office 11th floor 160 Elgin Street. This is open to the public. Canada's affiant Odette Johnston will also undergo cross examination next week by our counsel likely on Thursday morning. Canada is objecting to the public being present. We are asking the tribunal chair to ensure this entire proceeding is open to the public. We will keep you posted.

  • Chair Shirish Chotalia (who was newly appointed by the Conservative Government on November 2, 2009) vacated all tribunal hearing dates for January and February 2010
    January 10, 2010

    In a letter on January 8, 2010, Chair Shirish Chotalia (who was newly appointed by the Conservative Government on November 2, 2009) vacated all tribunal hearing dates for January and February 2010 and has apparently decided to hear Canada's motion to dismiss the tribunal. We are surprised that Chair Chotalia has agreed to hear Canada's motion to dismiss given that the federal court has already reviewed the matter and ruled against the Canadian Government. These decisions by the Chair were unexpected and cause us great concern. If the original schedule of hearings established by Chair Sinclair were respected by the incoming Chair we would have already concluded three weeks of witness testimony on this important matter by month's end. Given Chotalia's interventions not one word of witness evidence has been entered into the record.

    We are exploring all options to respond to this recent development and will keep you posted.

  • Canadian Paediatric Society releases report card on Canadian Public Policy and child and youth health
    January 08, 2010

    Canadian Paediatric Society releases report card on Canadian Public Policy and child and youth health including a report card on the implementation of Jordan's Principle by provincial and territorial governments.

  • The Tribunal hearings resume on January 19, 2010 on the 11th floor of 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa to discuss a number of important procedural items including:
    December 31, 2009

    1.An application by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network to televise the tribunal. AFN, Caring society, Amnesty International, Chiefs of Ontario, Canadian Human Rights Commission are in favour and the Canadian Government is opposed to APTN covering the proceedings.

    2.An application by Canada to dismiss the complaint. AFN, Caring society, Amnesty International, Chiefs of Ontario, Canadian Human Rights Commission are opposed.

    Canada will also be disclosing its final witness list and expert witnesses on January 12, 2010. Although AFN and the Caring Society have disclosed our lay and expert witness lists along with detailed will say documents describing what each witness will testify to, Canada has only provided a list of “potential witnesses” and has not provided detailed summaries of what these witnesses will speak to. In addition Canada has failed to produce the name of even one expert witness willing to testify in favour of the government’s claims that it funds equitably and in ways that support culturally appropriate practice. At a case conference held with the tribunal chair in December of 2009, legal counsel for Canada indicated that they will call the firm KPMG as an expert witness but no information has been provided to assess the qualification of KPMG as an expert or on the evidence KPMG will rely on.

    The Caring society is very concerned that a full hearing of this case on its substantial merits has not taken place even though the former tribunal chair ordered that these hearings begin on November 16, 2009. Unnecessary procedural delays are harmful to First Nations children and it is in the joint interests of Canadians and First Nations to determine if discrimination is occurring against thousands of vulnerable children and their families.

  • FNCFCS welcomes federal court ruling on First Nations child welfare tribunal
    November 28, 2009

    The federal court has decided not to hear Canada's application to stop the tribunal until after the tribunal has been completed. This decision allows for the tribunal to continue which is what we were hoping for. Canada has 10 days to file an appeal.

  • Read the research on First Nations child welfare funding
    November 15, 2009
  • Effective November 2, 2009, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice, appointed Shirish P. Chotalia as Chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
    November 10, 2009

    Two days into the new Chair’s term we received notice from the Chair that the hearing dates scheduled to begin on November 16, 2009 were potentially being adjourned. On November 6, 2009, the Chair informed the parties that she was vacating the first week of the evidentiary hearing scheduled to begin in Ottawa on November 16, 2009.

    This decision was made unilaterally without any consultation with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. This complaint was filed over two years ago and preparations for the hearing have been underway for some time now and all parties were prepared to proceed with the Tribunal on November 16, 2009. This ruling completely caught us by surprise and we are now working with our lawyers to try to understand why the Tribunal Chair made this ruling. We understand the hardship that inequality has on First Nations children and families and will be working to ensure a full public tribunal hearing on this important matter resumes as soon as possible.

  • Caring Across Boundaries Photography Exhibit opens in Toronto on November 23, 2009 through to November 27, 2009
    October 31, 2009
  • Opening Statement at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations child welfare
    October 31, 2009

    Opening Statement at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations child welfare made by Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada made on September 14, 2009

  • The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada would like to express our heartfelt appreciation
    October 30, 2009

    The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Southeast CFS, Southern First Nations Network of Caring, Animikii Ozoson Child and Family Services, Anishinaabe Child and Family Services, Intertribal Child an Family Services, Sandy Bay Child and Family Services, Sagkeeng Child and Family Services, Peguis Child and Family Services, Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services, West Region Child and Family Services, and the All Nations Coordinated Response Network for hosting the second annual gala for the Caring Society on October 28, 2009 in Winnipeg. We are so uplifted by the support of First Nations child and family service agencies and we are truly honored to work with all of you. Thank you!

  • The historic human rights tribunal on First Nations child welfare began today
    September 14, 2009

    Amnesty International and the Chiefs of Ontario were both granted intervenor status in this important matter and the tribunal chair adjourned the matter until November 16, 2009 when witness testimony will begin to be entered on the record. Thanks to all the people from across Canada who attended the tribunal in person today and the many others who followed it in the media.

    Keep watching and please do encourage others in your circle to join the growing list of witnesses at http://www.fncaringsociety.com/i-am-witness

    Click here to learn more about Canadian Human Rights Tribunal process

  • Honourable Member of Parliament, Jean Crowder (NDP) tables private members motion in support of Jordan’s Principle
    May 18, 2007
  • FNCFCS submits Human Rights Complaint on Inequitable Child Welfare Funding
    February 23, 2007

    The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada is honored to work with the Assembly of First Nations to file a human rights complaint to seek redress for inequitable funding levels for First Nations child welfare agencies which contributes to rising numbers of First Nations children in child welfare care. The following document summarizes the speaking notes of Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada during the news conference held on February 23, 2007. Please visit www.afn.ca to view AFN press releases on this matter.

    Human Rights Complaint News Conference
    Cindy Blackstock, Speaking Notes
    Ottawa, ON, February 23, 2007

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