Liberal government withdraws court case on First Nations health care

Liberal government withdraws court case on First Nations health care

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is withdrawing a Federal Court challenge over the delivery of health-care services for First Nations children after reaching an agreement with the parties in a case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday that changes have been made to address two aspects of a May tribunal finding the government wanted to address in Federal Court.

“I really hope today’s decision will demonstrate to all the parties involved … it is in the best interests of children in this country, in this case First Nations children, if we find a way to collaborate,” Philpott said speaking outside of the House of Commons.

In June, the Liberal government announced it was going to court to quash parts of a compliance order issued last spring by the quasi-judicial human rights tribunal.

Specifically, Ottawa took issue with the fact the tribunal wanted requests for health services for First Nations children processed in 12 to 48 hours. It was also concerned about the tribunal stipulation it could not case conferences.

An agreement has now been reached between the government, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations saying there is a legitimate role for clinical case conferences — discussions related to the delivery of services involving professionals.

It says the tool may be used when “reasonably necessary” to understand a First Nation’s child’s clinical needs so professionals can access more information on a case.

The agreement also says decisions on service delivery made within a 48-hour window may not always not be in the child’s best interests.

“In a situation where irremediable harm is reasonably foreseeable, Canada will make all reasonable efforts to provide immediate crisis intervention supports until an extended response can be developed and implemented,” the agreement states.

“For non-urgent cases in which this information cannot be obtained within the 48-hour time frame, representatives from the government of Canada will work with the requester in order to obtain the needed information so that the determination can be made as close to the 48-hour time frame as possible.”

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, said Thursday she is pleased with federal government’s decision to withdraw the judicial review but she said it would have been helpful if it had raised concerns with the parties in the case before going to court.

“They waited 30 days to file that judicial review, which is the maximum limit,” she said.

“During that time, they did not raise these concerns with either ourselves or the AFN. I think both of us would have been willing to sit down and resolve any kind of reasonable issue but we didn’t have that opportunity.”

In the future, Blackstock said she hopes concerns and questions on legal orders from the human rights tribunal will be raised to see if a resolution is possible.

The government has yet to provide a path showing it is implementing tribunal findings in areas including early childhood education and First Nations child welfare, Blackstock added.

“We need to measure success at the level of children” she said. “I’m hoping we … see this example of this resolution of this judicial review become more of the (government’s) standard operating procedure.”

Philpott said Thursday that more than 24,000 services have been approved for First Nations children under Jordan’s Principle — a policy named after a First Nations boy who died while bureaucracies squabbled over financial jurisdiction — including mental health supports and medical equipment.

Ottawa is committed to implementing the policy and complying with tribunal orders, she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto in April. Alberta’s unemployment rate this past month was 11.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. This is nearly half a point lower than October when the unemployment rate was 10.7 per cent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Job recovery in Alberta remains uneven: ATB Financial

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, employment in Alberta’s hospitality sector remains down the… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels winger Arshdeep Bains had two assists in the first period Monday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action in Lethbridge. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Hurricanes hand Red Deer Rebels ninth straight loss

Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday) The goals… Continue reading

Red Deer City Hall. (File photo)
Red Deerians will see a slight tax increase, but the municipal portion is at zero per cent

The provincial educational requisition went up by about half a per cent

Letters
Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Children at the Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club practice social distancing throughout the day to minimize the spreading of germs and potentially the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula
Opinion: Teach young people these five principles

At all ages, young people may be the subject of mean behaviours… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs need to think about all Albertans

I was surprised to find more than a dozen UCP MLAs were… Continue reading

Sweden skip Niklas Edin makes a shot against Scotland in the Men's World Curling Championship gold medal final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Curling's Humpty's Champions Cup in Calgary has been pushed back a day due to the delayed finish of the men's world championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Most Read