Provinces not doing enough to treat Indigenous kids equally, advocate says

WINNIPEG — A First Nations children’s advocate says Indigenous children still aren’t being treated equally because the provinces and territories are shirking their responsibilities.

Cindy Blackstock told the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women in Winnipeg that provinces are still denying Indigenous kids access to services that are available to non-Indigenous children.

Blackstock, who is executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, provinces still aren’t adhering to Jordan’s Principle despite a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The principle stipulates Indigenous kids should get access to services without delays that may be caused by jurisdictional issues.

It’s named after Jordan River Anderson, a boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, who died without ever being able to go home because of a dispute over who would pay for his health care.

Blackstock says provinces have taken the position that it’s a federal issue, so they are not stepping up to provide children with adequate care.