NAN welcomes Government of Ontario's commitment to Jordan's Principle



    THUNDER BAY, ON, April 22 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy welcomed a statement by Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Brad Duguid in Queen's Park today affirming the Government of Ontario's
commitment to Jordan's Principle, a child-first principle aimed at resolving
jurisdictional disputes around the care of First Nations children.
    "I am very pleased that the Government of Ontario has formally pledged
its support for Jordan's Principle," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand
Chief Stan Beardy, who attended the announcement in the Ontario Legislature
along with other NAN First Nation leaders. "Jordan's Principle will ensure
that the health and well-being of First Nation children takes priority over
bureaucratic bickering over who should pay the bills. This will ensure that
First Nations Children have access to the same level of care and services as
all children in Canada without undue delay."
    Jordan's Principle is named in honour of Jordan River Anderson, an
Anishnawbe child from northern Manitoba who was born with complex medical
needs and placed in foster care so he could access the services he required.
Despite being medically fit to be transferred to a foster home closer to his
First Nation, the four-year-old child died in hospital in 2003 while two
government parties argued over payment of expenses related to his at-home
care.
    Jordan's Principle is a child-first principle that provides that the
government, ministry or department of 'first contact' must pay for services
for a First Nations child without delay or disruption in the event of a
jurisdictional dispute between two government parties. It has been endorsed by
the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Medical Association.
    "Jordan's Principle means putting the child first, and that is
significant for the health and well-being of the children of Nishnawbe Aski
and First Nation communities across Canada," said Beardy, who has raised
health and child welfare issues with both the Government of Ontario and the
Government of Canada. "Many First Nation children, especially those in remote
communities, experience unnecessary delays accessing appropriate care and
services due to intergovernmental and jurisdictional disputes over the payment
of services. Jordan's Principle is designed to eliminate that."
    Dr. K. Kellie Leitch recommended that the Government of Canada apply
Jordan's Principle in a 2008 report for Health Canada - Reaching For the Top:
A Report by the Advisor on Healthy Children & Youth, stating: "No discussion
of enhancements and additions to the health services of First Nations and
Inuit children and youth can be made without comment on the issue of Jordan's
Principle." Nishnawbe Aski Nation formally endorsed Jordan's Principle in 2007
and is one of more than 2,000 organizations to sign a Joint Declaration of
Support. A Private Members Motion in support of Jordan's Principle passed the
House of Commons in December 2007.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.





For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790 mobile

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NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

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