WENDAKE, QC, Jan. 26, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - It is with great enthusiasm that the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) welcomes the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. After many years of legal battles, First Nations children will finally receive the same treatment as other Canadian children. "The decision advocates for First Nations children and initiates a process to end the inequalities experienced by many of them. This is a decision we have anticipating for a number of years," according to Michel Paul, President of the FNQLHSSC Board of Directors.
In 2007, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding the funding of child welfare services in First Nations communities. It was later referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The Tribunal finally delivered its verdict this morning in Ottawa. "Why was it necessary to fight to the highest courts to gain access to the same treatment as other Canadians? Our children must have access to quality services, regardless of their place of residence. We do not ask for better treatment, we ask for fair treatment ..." concluded Michel Paul, in reaction to the court decision.
According to the FNQLHSSC, many services are underfunded due to discrimination against First Nations. The gap in the funding of these same services outside of communities is estimated at 20%. The complainants allege that children deprived of services had to be placed in foster care. In Canada, 5-6% of children living in communities are placed in foster care, eight times more than other Canadian children. These children are marked forever, and this phenomenon all too often reminds us of the history of the residential schools.
It is anticipated that this ruling will serve as a lever for First Nations in their negotiations with the federal and provincial governments to find sustainable solutions and resolve existing jurisdictional disputes.
About the FNQLHSSC
The role of the FNQLHSSC is to assist Quebec and Labrador First Nations and Inuit communities and organizations in the defense, maintenance and the exercise of their inherent rights in health and social services as well as to help them in the realization (delivery) and the development of these programs.
SOURCE FIRST NATIONS OF QUEBEC AND LABRADOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION (FNQLHSSC)
For further information: Chantal Cleary, FNQLHSSC Communication Officer, Phone: 418-842-1540, ext. 240