Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Dismisses the Complaint on legal technicality - Caring Society appealing

Mon, 03/14/2011

News Release:

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada to appeal Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Decision to dismiss discrimination claim for First Nations Children on a legal loophole

OTTAWA, March 14 /CNW/ - The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada is deeply concerned with the ruling today from Shirish Chotalia, Chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, to dismiss the complaint filed by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations in 2007 alleging that the Federal Government is racially discriminating against First Nations children by providing less child welfare benefit on reserve. Chair Chotalia dismissed the case on a preliminary motion brought by the Federal Government even though the Federal Government had tried, and failed, to get the case dismissed on similar grounds in Federal Court on two previous occasions. Chair Shirish Chotalia did not address the overwhelming evidence of the inequity and harm experienced by First Nations children on reserves even though she was in possession of numerous reports confirming the problems such as the Auditor General of Canada (2008), the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (2009) and internal documents from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Instead, Chair Shirish Chotalia dismissed the case on a legal technicality suggesting that the Federal Government can provide a different, and inequitable, level of service to First Nations children so long as the Provinces/Territories provide the service to all other children. In issuing this ruling, Chair Shirish Chotalia, in effect legalized racial discrimination against vulnerable children on reserve by the Federal Government.

The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada will immediately appeal Chair Shirish Chotalia's decision to Federal Court. This case is being followed by over 7200 Canadians and organizations making it the most formally watched court case in Canadian history. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, says that "the Government of Canada should not be immune from human rights laws and obligations to First Nations children because of a legal technicality and we will take all necessary measures to ensure that this case is decided in a public forum on the full set of facts - the children deserve nothing less." The appeal will be filed in Federal Court in the next 30 days.

Read the ruling

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