On September 29, 2021, the Federal Court dismissed the Government of Canada’s appeals and upheld two 2019 rulings by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) relating to the treatment of Indigenous children.

The first CHRT ruling under consideration by the Court awarded $40,000 for incidents involving the forceful removal of First Nation children from their homes by the federal government after 2006.

An estimated 54,000 children and their parents would be eligible for these awards. This compensation came out of the CHRT’s decision ruling that Indigenous children had been “wilfully” and “recklessly” discriminated against by the federal government, which underfunded child and family services for Indigenous communities.

The Court looked also looked at the CHRT’s second ruling that healthcare for both status and non-status First Nation children was a federal responsibility when there was a jurisdictional dispute between different levels of government.

This CHRT decision provided additional detail to Jordan’s Principle is a child-first, needs-based standard for medical care for Indigenous children provided by the federal government. This principle was established in 2016 by the CHRT after the 2005 death of Jordan River Anderson after a dispute about whether his care should be financially covered provincially or federally.

After hearing the arguments for both CHRT decisions, the Court found that the federal government had failed to show that the CHRT’s decisions were unreasonable.

You can read the full Federal Court decision on Canada (Attorney General) v. First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, 2021 FC 969 here.