OTTAWA, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - On the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of Jordan Anderson, a child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Bill Traverse today called for effective and immediate implementation of Jordan's Principle.

"First Nation children are too often denied health services and other services available to other children in Canada," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Jordan's Principle reminds us that no child should be denied health or medical services because of jurisdictional disputes between federal and provincial/territorial governments. It has now been six years since the tragic death of Jordan Anderson, and we continue to call on all governments to work with First Nations to ensure the full and proper implementation of Jordan's Principle, including support for the Declaration on Action for the Implementation of Jordan's Principle as put forth by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. We can all agree that every child deserves respect, care and equitable treatment and First Nations children must not be treated differently."

Jordan's Principle states that in the event of a dispute over responsibility of costs between various levels of government, the government department of first contact will pay for health services to a child without delay or disruption and can be reimbursed later if necessary. It is named to honour the memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nation boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba who passed away at five years of age after spending his entire life in hospital because the provincial and federal governments could not agree on which would pay for home care.

In December 2008, the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba agreed to work together on the implementation of Jordan's Principle.  In April 2009, the Government of Ontario formally pledged to work with First Nations on its implementation, yet work by both provinces and the federal government has been delayed. 

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs today called on Crown Governments of Canada and Manitoba to "ensure action is taken this year to fully, and without equivocation, implement in spirit, intent, and practice Jordan's Principle, in his homeland of Manitoba, and across Canada."

"Our children deserve the same level of care as Canadian children living off reserve. First Nations have a Treaty right to health care and sadly the Canadian health care system failed young Jordan Anderson in 2005," said Bill Traverse, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Manitoba during a press conference in Winnipeg today. "We must work together to ensure this tragedy never strikes a First Nation child in the future. Jordan's Principle is a step forward in closing the health gaps that exist between First Nations and other Canadians."

Jordan's Principle is consistent with government obligations set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and many federal, provincial and territorial child-focused statutes. 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.


For further information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or e-mail

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613 292-0857 or

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